Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: My Heart Belongs in Blue Ridge by Pepper Basham

36Journey into the Blue Ridge Mountains of 1918 where Laurel McAdams endures the challenges of a hard life while dreaming things can eventually improve. But trouble arrives in the form of an outsider. Having failed his British father again, Jonathan Taylor joins is uncle’s missionary endeavors as a teacher in a two-room schoolhouse. Laurel feels compelled to protect the tenderhearted teacher from the harsh realities of Appalachian life, even while his stories of life outside the mountains pull at Laurel’s imagination. Faced with angry parents over teaching methods, Laurel’s father’s drunken rages, and bad news from England, will Jonathan leave and never return, or will he stay and let love bloom?

What I Loved: I’m still new to Pepper’s work, but I’m already a huge fan! I’m not even sure what to say aside from that I loved this one and recommend it to everybody. The setting comes to life as well as the culture of the Appalachian mountains. The characters are well developed. The chemistry between Laurel and Jonathan is the stuff of perfection. Jonathan’s initiation in the mountains had me rolling from the start. There’s a sound message about trusting Christ with the details of your life and the salvation of your loved ones. All in all My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge was a delightful novel from start to finish.

Rating and Recommendation: I’m giving it 5 stars and recommending it to those who enjoy Historical Christian Fiction or fiction set in the Appalachian Mountains.

~ I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review. 

 

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Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Bride of Ivy Green by Julie Klassen

42Much has happened in idyllic Ivy Hill in recent months, and while several villagers have found new love and purpose, questions remain–and a few dearly held dreams have yet to be fulfilled.

Jane Bell is torn. Gabriel Locke is back and has made his intentions clear. But Jane is reluctant to give up her inn and destine another man to a childless marriage. Then someone she never expected to see again returns to Ivy Hill. . . . 

Mercy Grove has lost her school and is resigned to life as a spinster, especially as the man she admires seems out of reach. Should she uproot herself from Ivy Cottage to become a governess for a former pupil? Her decision will change more lives than her own.

A secretive new dressmaker arrives in the village, but the ladies soon suspect she isn’t who she claims to be. Will they oust the imposter, or help rescue her from a dangerous predicament?

In the meantime, everyone expects Miss Brockwell to marry a titled gentleman, even though her heart is drawn to another. While the people of Ivy Hill anticipate one wedding, an unexpected bride may surprise them all.

Don’t miss this romantic, stirring conclusion to Tales from Ivy Hill.

My Thoughts: The Bride of Ivy Green is the happy conclusion that fans of the series have been waiting for. We’re back to the cozy Regency setting with the friends that we had made in the previous books. Klassen has several surprises and unexpected turns in store for the readers. The drama unfolds at a steady rate, but I couldn’t help feeling like it was stretched thin compared to my favorite Klassen novels. But I appreciated the solid gospel message weaved into the storyline.
*This series is a continuation and should be read in order.

Rating and Recommendation: I’m giving The Bride of Ivy Green 4 stars and recommending it Christian Regency fans.

~ I received a copy from Bethany House through NetGalley. All thoughts are my own. I was not compensated for this review or required to give a favorable one. 

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Who I Am with You by Robin Lee Hatcher

45

For these two broken hearts, the first step toward love will be a huge leap of faith. 

Jessica Mason isn’t looking for love when she meets Ridley Chesterfield. Instead she is still reeling from the tragic, unexpected loss of her husband and daughter—and awaiting the arrival of her unborn child. Harboring the secret of her husband’s betrayal, her pain is deeper than anyone knows.

Ridley Chesterfield is hiding out in Hope Springs, Idaho, avoiding a political scandal and the barrage of false media headlines that have tarnished his good name. The last thing Ridley wants is a relationship—but when fate leads Ridley to form a friendship with his reclusive and pregnant neighbor, he wonders if this small-town hideout might be more of a long-term destination. 

When Jessica begins to read her great-grandfather’s Bible, she finds a connection with a man she never knew. Somehow the verses he marked and the words he wrote in the margins open her heart to healing. And as Ridley and Jessica help each other forgive the people who have wronged them, they must decide if the past will define them or if they will choose to love again. 

Who I Am With You weaves together a modern-day romance with Jessica’s great-grandfather’s story from the 1930s, reminding us that some truths can cross generations and that faith has the power to transform families forever.

My Thoughts: I was smitten by the concept and the cozy remote setting. There’s a dual-timeline story taking place here so the reader can learn more about her grandfather whose Bible she’s now reading. His portion of the story was my favorite.
While I did feel like the conversations and personalities in the contemporary portion of the story was rather dull, I did highly appreciate Hatcher’s attention to spiritual matters. She used Scripture in a natural way. And her message on ultimate forgiveness in spite of adultery was inspiring and very well done.

Rating and Recommendation: I’d recommend it to Christian fiction fans, especial those who enjoy dual-timeline or contemporary. I’m giving it 3.5 stars.

~ I received a copy from NetGalley. All thoughts are my own. I was not compensated for this review.

Posted in Book Reviews

3 in 1 Book Review: Three Titles from KindleUnlimited

If you’re like me, you probably jumped on the opportunity to enjoy Kindle Unlimited for 3 months at the price of 99 cents. And … if you’re like me, you likely started browsing the selection and loading your precious Kindle up with terrific reads. So today, I want to share 3 quickie reviews for 3 novellas that I found and adored on KU.
For those unfamiliar with KU, each of these novellas are for sale in ebook form but also available to read for free to KU subscribers. 

45The last person Calil Deane expects to find trapped in an elevator in Siberia at 2.a.m is Peter Samuelson—the man who broke her heart. Peter Samuelson can’t believe the one woman he can’t forget is the one who rescues him in the backwoods of Russia. But can love be reignited, or will the fears – and mistakes – of the past drive them apart again? And can Calli forgive him and embrace a future she never expected—and isn’t sure she still wants? 

Just how do you measure the love of a man? Calli and Peter are about to find out.

 

Measure of a Man by Susan May Warren:

I adore Warren and this novella is a prime example of why. She has such a natural way of incorporating Christian elements into her novels. This particular novella includes a missionary and the man who left her behind. It’s romantic, edifying, entertaining, and set in a foreign country. What’s not to love?
Find it on Amazon or Goodreads.

31

 

He likes streamline. She prefers embellishments. His forte is business. Hers is atmosphere. Will they realize each has what the other needs most to create the perfect romance with a touch of Jane Austen flair?

When a country girl travels to Bath, England to visit Jane Austen country, will a serious businessman ruin her regency-dream?

 

 

Second Impressions by Pepper Basham: 

Love, love, AUSTEN LOVE! I’m new to Basham, but she has a whole collection of stories waiting for me on KU, and I plan to indulge myself with more of her lovely work. For the Austen lover, this is a must-read. For everyone else: you’re gonna adore it too! The chemistry between these two is spot-on. The bulk of the story takes place in England around the Regency convention.
Find it on Amazon or Goodreads.

32Christmas is coming to Romance, Oregon…but for Andy McKay, it’s only a reminder of the day the love of his life walked away. Guilted into playing Scrooge as a young man in the town’s production of A Christmas Carol, Andy unexpectedly finds himself acting alongside his girlfriend of romance past.

Cassie Winston has spent the past year traveling, writing, and regretting that she left the man she loved behind her. She’s afraid the old adage about how you can never go home again might be true. It’s hard enough to convince Andy to consider giving them a second chance, and acting with him in Scrooge and Belle’s breakup scene certainly doesn’t help.

As ghosts from the past resurface, can they find a way to create a new future together?

A Christmas Carol in Romance by Franky A. Brown: 

Sigh. This is one is perfect for your Hallmark Christmas movie fan. There isn’t a Christian message in this one, but it is absolutely clean and absolutely adorable. Everything, from the cast to the setting, had the cozy Christmas feel to it. There was Dickens and the Christmas Carol everywhere in this novella, which made me love it even more.
Find it on Amazon or Goodreads.

 

I’d love to hear your recommendations for Christian (or clean) reads that are also available in Kindle Unlimited. I highly recommend all 3 of these titles and have given them all 5 stars. 
AND in case you weren’t aware. All of my novels are available in KU. 😉 And I can highly recommend them to you as well. You’ll find my collection on Amazon and Goodreads

 

 

 

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Lieutenant’s Bargain by Regina Jennings

7Hattie Walker dreams of becoming a painter, while her parents want her to settle down. As a compromise, they give her two months to head to Denver and place her works in an exhibition or give up the dream forever. Her journey is derailed when a gunman attacks her stagecoach, leaving her to be rescued by a group of Arapaho . . . but she’s too terrified to recognize them as friendly.

Confirmed bachelor Lieutenant Jack Hennessey has long worked with the tribe and is tasked with trying to convince them that the mission school at Fort Reno can help their children. When a message arrives about a recovered survivor, Jack heads out to take her home–and plead his case once more.

He’s stunned to run into Hattie Walker, the girl who shattered his heart–but quickly realizes he has a chance to impress her. When his plan gets tangled through translation, Jack and Hattie end up in a mess that puts her dreams in peril–and tests Jack’s resolve to remain single.

What I Loved: Well… I devoured this in 24 hours! I absolutely loved it! The story kicks off and doesn’t stop until you hit the last page. It was hilarious, romantic, fast-paced, and even had a lovely Christian Christmas message tucked inside. These two had great chemistry together and they kept the pages moving. The entire cast of personalities came to life. It was also a treat to revisit old friends from previous books. I’m not sure what else you need to hear from me other than a command for you to pick this one up ASAP! I adored it and I think you will too!

Rating and Recommendation: I’m giving it 5 stars. I recommend it to those looking for a fun western and to Christian historical/western fans.

~ I received a copy from Bethany House through NetGalley. All thoughts are my own. I was not compensated for this review.

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: At First Glance by Susan Tuttle

17Estate planner Penny Thornton loves dusting off items others gloss over, especially since she relates to feeling tossed aside for the “bright and shiny.” When her younger sister’s approaching wedding launches Penny back into the throes of her dysfunctional family, she decides to use the festivities to close the gap in their relationships even if it means appeasing them and finally losing the few pounds they’ve hounded her about for years. 

But she doesn’t expect to meet two very different men in the process: East Fisher, the personal trainer who personifies everything she believes she could never attain, and Jonah Black, a man who reminds her so much of herself. Both men are more than they appear at first glance, and each seems interested in her romantically. 

As Penny uncovers their hidden layers, she discovers when it comes to love and matters of the heart, she’s got a lot to learn about estimating value.

What I Loved: Wow-wee! At First Sight will certainly be a highlight of my reading year. The characters were easy to relate to and their chemistry was spot-on. The overall writing style was smooth and enjoyable. I’m under the impression that Tuttle spend years studying the craft and her debut novel shows it.
But for me, the real highlight was the theme of the story and it’s summed up nicely in this quote from the novel: “My potential has nothing to do with my waistline.” Tuttle shows the realistic struggle of trying to fit into society’s, or sometimes our family’s, perfect image. Our worth in Christ and showing love, kindness, and offering forgiveness to others were themes woven in from start to finish.

Rating and Recommendations: I highly recommend At First Glance to Christian Contemporary romance fans or to anyone who has ever focused on their outward appearance. I’m giving it 5 stars.

~ I received a copy from the publisher. I was not compensated for this review. All thoughts are my own.

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Writing from the Trenches: Tips and Techniques from Ten Award-Winning Authors

400YOU … and an Army of Ten!

TEN-HUT! Gear up for your writing with tried-and-true tips from the trenches. Ten award-winning authors share invaluable tips and secrets they’ve gleaned the hard way, offering a broad range of insights and opinions on the best way to tackle subjects such as the following:

Plotting Techniques
Research
Characterization
Villains We Love to Hate
Dynamic Dialogue
Sigh-Worthy Heroes
The Right Heroine for the Job
Hooking Your Reader in the First Chapter
Scene Endings to Lead Your Readers On
Creating a Movie Set
Making your Readers Cry
Deep POV
Copyediting your Manuscript
Indie Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing
Marketing for Those Who Hate Marketing

At last … a writer’s tool that provides the experience and expertise of ten authors who’ve been on the front lines of publishing and lived to teach about it: Connie Almony, Lynnette Bonner, Hallee Bridgeman, Louise Gouge, Michelle Griep, Julie Lessman, Elizabeth Ludwig, Ane Mulligan, MaryLu Tyndall, and Erica Vetsch.

My Thoughts: This was a terrific overview of writing. There were so many sections covered that it’s a must-read for aspiring authors. The beauty of it was that it was compiled together by ten different authors so you’re getting the strengths from each author. I found it so helpful that I immediately offered to buy a copy for the aspiring author that I’m coaching.
As a published author, I didn’t really find “new” information but rather a new way of explaining old information which I found really helpful. I kept finding myself quoting something from this book as I pulled my notes together for the aspiring author I was critiquing.
The layout was perfectly arranged so that one point naturally flowed into the next. The beginning opened with all ten authors sharing how they plot their novel. While it did start to feel a tad repetitive with each author giving nearly the same intro, all ten authors had vastly different styles of plotting. I found this section really interesting and I didn’t find any one author who did it exactly like myself, so I certainly walked away with some ideas for things I could try in the future.
I do feel obligated to share a warning for more conservative writers. There’s a section on how to create a great hero which was extremely well thought out and packed full of outstanding material. The author even shares a vast selection of examples from her writing. I’m the sort who learns best by example so I double appreciate that sort of effort. But in this particular case, I found the majority of the examples a bit steamier for my personal tastes. While I wholeheartedly stand by the information, for more conservative writers, I would just caution you that may find yourself skimming. But the information itself should NOT be skimmed over but soaked up instead.

Rating and Recommendation: I’m giving it 5 stars and highly recommending it to aspiring authors looking for a solid overview and to published authors looking to finetune some areas or seeking a great teaching aid.

~ I received a copy from the authors. I was not compensated for my review. All thoughts are my own.

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Romancing the Bride by Melissa Jagears

403Marrying a stranger to save a ranch is one thing; losing the land on their wedding day is another.

Desperate to keep the ranch where three of her children and a husband lie buried, Annie Gephart must marry or sell. Which of the few bachelors in town would consider a surprise proposal to wed a plain widow with a rebellious daughter, a spirited boy, and unpaid taxes—without laughing in her face?

Jacob Hendrix has never fully let go of his ranching dreams despite ending up as a small Wyoming town’s marshal. The job wouldn’t be so bad, except he’s more errand boy than lawman. When Annie proposes marriage without a single coquettish bat of an eyelash, can he commit himself to a woman he hardly knows for a choice piece of property he’d be an idiot to pass up?

But taxes aren’t all that threaten Annie and Jacob’s plans. Cattle rustlers, crumbling friendships, and wayward children make this marriage of convenience anything but. When they lose what they’ve sacrificed everything to save, will the love of a stranger be enough?

Romancing the Bride is the first book in the Frontier Vows Series by award-winning Christian romance author Melissa Jagears. If you like heartwarming marriage-of-convenience stories, you’ll love this sweet romance filled with endearing characters.

My Thoughts: One of the things that I came to admire from Jagears’s last series, Teaville Moral Society, was that she took on a difficult subject, creating a novel that was more than simply romance and historic western culture. And while the “realness” featured in Romancing the Bride wasn’t overly in-depth, it does bring a genuine feel to the story. Cattle rustling, corrupt leaders, gangster type of bullying, and land theft were all intricately woven into the tale. Add in a rebellious teen and the death of loved ones and you have something that modern readers can relate to as well.
But I don’t mean to make this sound like a somber book because it wasn’t! That’s the beauty of it. Jagears brings the essence of a tough reality inside of a highly entertaining novel. It was romantic. Jacob and Annie had great chemistry together and their plight was realistic. The supporting cast was authentically crafted.
From beginning to end, the religious content was properly in focus. Accepting Christ’s gift of forgiveness and salvation without earning it was among one of the greater themes, although there were others woven in.

Rating and Recommendation: I’m giving Romancing the Bride 5 stars and highly recommending it to those who enjoy Christian historical fiction, Christian western, or marriage of convenience stories.

~I received a copy from the author. All thoughts are my own. I was not compensated for this review.

Posted in About the Book

RELEASE DAY: Yesterday’s Christmas by A.M. Heath

Every release sparks a measure of excitement. But this one sparks something a little more. This is my first full-sized Christmas story. It contains all the warm, cozy Christmas moments someone could hope for. There’s a sweet romance set in 1954 that will thrill the heart of any Hallmark Christmas movie fan. But there’s more … Yesterday’s Christmas is also a love story about a couple on the brink of divorce after thirty years of marriage. 
Ouch. 
Divorce and Christmas are two things we don’t want to see together. But they’re two things that often are together in our fallen world. And that’s what makes this story so beautiful. Along with the warm, fuzzy, entertainment is a story for the heart and a lesson for the soul. 
The characters, Betty and Glenn, do not represent my life and marriage, however, I did draw inspiration from the personalities and differences found in my own marriage. And the Lord has blessed it greatly. Readers are messaging me with these comments (actual quotes): “It was like she wrote it for me.” “It has spoken to me especially the part about God changing Betty not Glenn. It was like God was saying that to me. Thank you for this story.” “I could relate to her feelings and emotions.” “I’m a Betty married to a Glenn.” 
I don’t glory in so many struggling marriages but I do glory in the ability to pen a story with a message that was clearly needed. 
I think this is a story that readers can enjoy whether they’re married or not. And for those who are, I pray it blesses your heart in a special way. With every release, there is a slew of exciting activities happening, so let’s take a look: 

Betty Party

There’s a party taking place today! You can join me on Facebook. If you’re unable to make it at 10 a.m. (central) you can join me later that day or the next. I prefer to keep my parties extended for those who aren’t able to make the specific hour. Did I mention that I’ll be giving away two paperback copies at the party? 

There’s also a blog tour. You can visit other bloggers to hear their thoughts on the novel, as well as earn bonus entries for the grand prize giveaway. 

Betty Tour

Tour Schedule: 
Nov. 5: 
Alicia G. Ruggieri @ A Brighter Destiny
Spotlight

Nov. 6:
A. Kaylee Harrison @ Kaylee’s Kind of Writes
Plus Interview!

Nov. 7:
Becky Dempsey @ Blossoms and Blessings

Nov. 8: 
Raechel Lenore @ God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae

Nov. 9:
Debbie Curto @ Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations
Plus Interview!

Nov. 12: 
Deana Dick @ Texas Book-aholic

Nov. 13:
Robbie Pink @ Captive Dreams Window

Nov. 15:
Alicia G. Ruggieri @ A Brighter Destiny
Plus Interview!

Nov. 16:
Faith Blum @ Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections
Spotlight and Interview

Betty Grand Prize copy

You can enter the grand prize giveaway here. It closes Nov. 16, 2018.
I’ll announce the winner here on the blog.
I’m sorry, the giveaway is only open to Continental U.S. residents. 

Final 1600x2400During a snowstorm, Betty Tanner finds herself stuck with her estranged husband. Spending Christmas with Glenn wasn’t what she had in mind, and her thoughts reluctantly travel back three decades to their first Christmas together, when another snowstorm caused her to wreck her car outside the Tanner home … 

1954: Stranded with the Tanners over Christmas, Betty is forced into the company of Glenn, who has spurned her for years. But as the snow falls outside, the walls between Betty and Glenn begin to melt, revealing a side of him she never knew existed. A side she longs to know better.

Pride and bitterness can make a beast out of anyone. And the hardships they face in their relationship are of their own making. But can following Christ’s ways lead Betty and Glenn to the reconciliation they long for?

A.M. Heath invites you to spend Christmas with the Tanners in a dual-timeline novel loosely inspired by Beauty and the Beast. You’re sure to fall in love again and again.

Christmas Ebook Sale

You can add Yesterday’s Christmas to your TBR list on Goodreads or pick up your copy today at Amazon. You’ll find both novels in A Season Passed on sale for a limited time.

Hold on with date