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.

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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

 

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Time Will Tell by Anne Mateer

36Returning home after two years at the Buffalo Ladies’ Seminary, Annis Jackson believes God has blessed her with the perfect homecoming: a whirlwind romance with a man she’s loved from afar during her time at school. Except the object
of her affections, Hugh Hylton, is related to her father’s most bitter enemy, a man determined to see Toledo firmly in the grip of the state of Ohio and the very one funding Hugh’s newspaper venture. 

After several years of newspaper work in Buffalo, New York, Hugh Hylton jumped at his uncle’s offer of financial help to start a newspaper on the opposite shore of Lake Erie. And when he discovers during the steamship voyage to his new home that the woman he’s been dreaming about for the past year, Annis Jackson, loves him back, his future seems secure. He arrives in Port Lawrence, part of the newly named town of Toledo, ready to approach her father and declare his intentions toward her. 
But Annis fears Hugh doesn’t understand the depth of the personal conflict over the positioning of Ohio’s state line and persuades him to conceal their relationship until she can prepare her father to accept Hugh in spite of his family connections. Then the Michigan militia arrives in the Toledo Strip, determined to prevent Ohio elections, and the situation gets out of hand, making their secret more difficult to guard. Suddenly the future of the newspaper—and their relationship—is as unstable as the fate of Toledo itself. 

Will Hugh and Annis survive their feuding families? Only time will tell. 

What I Loved: This is the Anne Mateer that I love and miss! I thoroughly enjoyed the historical detail about a conflict that I knew nothing about. The creator in me geeks out at the thought process behind developing a story based on a microscopic moment in history. The characters were endearing and well-crafted. I especially adored the relationship between the sisters and the “Whoa, Philly” remarks. I wasn’t sure if the romance would keep my attention as well since it was about an established couple trying to navigate the difficulties surrounding them versus falling in love for the first time, but I found myself really enjoying it. And Mateer weaves all of this together with a solid message on repentance and trusting Christ to care for even the details of your life.

Rating and Recommendations: I give it 5 stars and recommend it to those looking for a Christian historical novella or those interested in Michigan/Ohio history.

Posted in About the Book

Preview: Yesterday’s Christmas by A.M. Heath

We’re just a week away from the release of my latest novel, Yesterday’s Christmas! My team and I have worked so hard this past year to bring you books 1 and 2 of A Season Passed so close together. I hope you’re as excited about this as I am!
Originally, If Only It Were Yesterday was meant to be a standalone novel. But I was aching to write another Christmas short story and had been on the search for the perfect idea. I was collecting virtual teapots for Betty’s character in If Only It Were Yesterday when I came across a picture of Mrs. Potts from Beauty and the Beast. The very second I saw that image, inspiration struck. BETTY could be Belle in a Christmas version of Beauty and the Beast! It was perfect! I simultaneously crafted 2 plots: a young woman being stranded with a man and his family during Christmas AND a married couple being stranded together during Christmas. BOTH plots pulled at me, and I struggled to pick just one. … Until I realized that I could choose both. And thus, Yesterday’s Christmas was born.
It is both a story of falling in love for the first time and recommitment. Yesterday’s Christmas isn’t quite a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but I think you’ll find the moments of inspiration easily enough as you read the novel. It’ll be a fun little treasure hunt. Until you can get your hands on the full novel, please enjoy the first full chapter of Yesterday’s Christmas

One

The wise woman builds her house, but with her

own hands the foolish one tears hers down.

~ Proverbs 14:1

Christmas Eve, 1985

I shouldn’t have been on any twisted backroad in the middle of a snowstorm, but I most certainly shouldn’t be on this road. I turned on my lights and whispered another prayer.

Why had I been so persistent in leaving the safety of my daughter’s house when I could have very well stayed put?

Because I’m miserable, that’s why.

Because as much as I tried to pretend nothing was wrong, all I wanted was to be home alone to wallow in my self-pity in any way that I deemed appropriate. This was to be my first Christmas without Glenn.

Pretending there was nothing wrong between us had slowly taken its toll on me until I couldn’t bear it another moment. Living apart these last three months hadn’t been easy, but, at least with our separation, I finally knew where I stood. A woman likes to be told that she is still beautiful in her man’s eyes. That she is still an important part of his happiness. Especially once she is past her prime. But whatever Glenn felt, he kept to himself … or kept for another. I had stood under a cloud of doubt for so long concerning his affections for me that I could barely stand up under it. He always claimed he’d never cheated on me, and I never found proof otherwise, but if the man wasn’t passionate about me anymore, whom was he passionate about? After spending countless years feeling like he had one foot out the door, I had finally snapped and pushed him the rest of the way out.

Self-preservation required distance, and it seemed to have been working. And, yet, there I was on the verge of tears with a darkening sky and snow so thick I could hardly see in front of my car.

I shouldn’t have been there. In fact, none of this should have been happening. If only Glenn had deemed our family more important. Deemed me more important. Those endless hours at work and distant hours at home had only succeeded in killing our marriage.

It didn’t do any good to blame Glenn, even if he was at fault. I had learned over the months that hating him for it didn’t change anything. It just made it harder for me to cope. Ignoring him, ignoring the memories, was my best option right now.

I popped the tape out of the cassette player on the dashboard, putting an end to Kenny Rogers’ and Dolly Parton’s Christmas tunes.

I gripped the steering wheel a little tighter, my knuckles as white as the powder gathering outside of my window. Leaning closer, I paid more attention to the upcoming curves in the road. I knew them by heart, but the snow distorted things until I was no longer confident of anything.

Lord, please see me home safely. I was such a fool, but, Lord, have mercy on this fool.

I rounded one bend, but there were more just up ahead. My stomach flipped. I hated this curve. I hated that house just around the curve. I hated this road.

This road was a shortcut, and, at the time, it had seemed important. In the heavy snowfall, it certainly was important; however, this was no place to be in the middle of a snowstorm.

But it was more than just slick roads. It was the Tanner house just around the corner. Just up ahead sat Glenn’s family home. Just up ahead, my estranged husband was probably sitting inside the house.

My nerves twisted and jumped like that of a school girl out on her first date. Glenn certainly wouldn’t see me as I drove by. He wouldn’t be looking out the window, and, yet, I couldn’t help but feel as if thousands of pairs of eyes were watching me as I inched around one curve and got closer and closer to the next.

A flash of brown shot out in front of my car. I sucked in a screech and slammed on my brakes. The brown, which I now recognized as a deer, jolted from his momentary stupor and finished his leap across the road. My tires spun, first locking up and then turning to one side. I gripped the wheel and yanked it in one direction, but it only turned my car in the other. I yanked it back, and again, it spun harder–too hard–in the other direction until my car suddenly stopped, its nose dipping down into the ditch.

I sat there in the ditch on the side of the road, first stunned and then angry.

No. No. No! This cannot be happening. How could You let this happen, Lord? Why now? Why here? Somehow my prayers of protection had turned into me being delivered into the ditch in front of Glenn’s house. With more frustration than pain, I opened the door, the blistering wind and a mixture of snow and ice drilling my face. I sucked in an involuntary gasp and tightened the scarf around my neck.

I bent over and grabbed my purse out of the passenger seat–no, make that the floorboard, where it now sat.

I checked my car again. There was no one around, and my car was safely tucked far enough into the ditch that no one should hit it if they were to venture down this treacherous road. Not that anyone else was foolish enough to bother. Folks in Tennessee knew to stay indoors when it snowed, so I had no excuse for being out in the weather.

I slammed the car door closed with more force than necessary, but it didn’t release any of my pent-up steam. I knew what to do. There’d be no choice in it. Looking left and then right only confirmed what I knew was true. There wasn’t another house on this road for quite a ways. Why did the Tanners have to build their house on the other side of this curve?

I hiked up the long gravel driveway. The hollow sound of crunching snow under my leather-fringed boots filled my ears, but I didn’t delight in any of it. Nearly three inches of snow had already fallen. The snowfall was a rare beauty, but I wasn’t taking the time to admire it.

I bypassed the front door and walked straight to the back. It had been the entrance most commonly used when his mother was alive. I knocked on the door and waited, but I didn’t hear any movement inside. I knocked a little harder, and then the door was snatched out from underneath my hand.

Betty?” Glenn said in a question, blinking back his surprise. “Wh-what are you doing here?”

I gave a shrug and an ill-humored grin. “Just thought I’d pop in,” I answered sarcastically.

His brow, a dark brown dusted with gray, lowered over his right eye–a look I had long ago memorized. He stood before me in sweats and knee-high socks. I knew they were knee-high with the red stripes around the top because I remembered buying them. They looked in need of a wash, but what did I expect since I wasn’t here to do his laundry? I fought back the urge to roll my eyes. I’d hate to see his hamper. It was probably empty while his clothes lay all on the floor around it, because he never could put his clothes inside the hamper. The man could shoot basketball like a pro, but socks in a hamper? Humph, forget about it.

I tamped down all of these ill feelings. I wasn’t here to complain about his housekeeping. I had done enough of that over the last thirty years of marriage. Nope, as much as I hated to admit it, he would be my savior this hour, and there was nothing I could do except thank him.

He still hadn’t caught on to the reason for my visit, but, again, I wasn’t shocked. He seemed to notice so little concerning me unless I spelled it out for him. A new dress, a new hairstyle. Nope. Didn’t matter.

He scratched his shoulder, revealing a slight tear in the sleeve of his t-shirt. “Umm,” he started, looking over my shoulder at the covered carport behind me. “Where’s your car?”

I gave him another one of my mirthless smirks. “I parked it out front.”

His eyebrows shot up, clear to his hairline. But now, at last, he seemed to understand the nature of my visit. Glenn stepped down the concrete steps and onto the carport, peeking around the side of the house.

I just watched and waited for it.

Silently, a hand slapped across his mouth as he viewed my crafty parking job. Glenn slid his hand down his face. He turned to me, his lips pinched and his brows still high. He didn’t say anything, his chest filling with air, deflating, and filling again. He gave a slow shake of his head. “Well, Betty, I didn’t think it was possible for lightning to strike twice, but you proved ’em wrong.” He looked down at his watch, as if it might tell him more than the time. “And on Christmas Eve, too?”

I snorted, a short bubble of laughter rising and dying on my lips. “Do you mind?” I asked, knowing that he wouldn’t. I was the mother of his children, after all. Laura and Peter wouldn’t be here without me, nor would the countless father-of-the-year coffee mugs that he had collected since the kids had been born.

He welcomed me into the house with a tilt of his head and a wave of his hand toward the door. Glenn was right about one thing: lightning had struck twice.

Two

There was once a very rich merchant …

~ Beauty and the Beast

Thirty-one years earlier: Christmas Eve, 1954 …

Final 1600x2400

During 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.

You can pre-order Yesterday’s Christmas on Amazon for .99
or add it to your Goodreads’ list. 

Rich Merchant with date (1)

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: A Sparkle of Silver by Liz Johnson

15Ninety years ago, Millie Sullivan’s great-grandmother was a guest at oil tycoon Howard Dawkins’ palatial estate on the shore of St. Simons Island, Georgia. Now, Millie plays a 1920s-era guest during tours of the same manor. But when her grandmother suggests that there is a lost diary containing the location of a hidden treasure on the estate, along with the true identity of Millie’s great-grandfather, Millie sets out to find the truth of her heritage–and the fortune that might be hers. When security guard Ben Thornton discovers her snooping in the estate’s private library, he threatens to have her fired. But her story seems almost too ludicrous to be fiction, and her offer to split the treasure is too tempting to pass up . . .

Get ready for a romantic escapade through dark halls and dusty corners that will have you holding your breath and sighing with delight as two charming characters get caught up in the adventure of uncovering the past and finding their way to an unexpected future.

My Thoughts: A Sparkle of Silver was absolutely delightful! It was romantic. Millie and Ben had great page-turning chemistry together. The mystery was engaging and had snagged me completely. I really enjoyed watching Millie’s great-grandmother Ruth’s story unfold and the romance and intrigue that went along with it. Johnson hooked me with the prospect of dark halls and dusty corners being the setting of a fascinating puzzle and she did not let down! I thoroughly enjoyed slipping away into a world, both past and present, that Johnson had created for us. And beyond all the romance and mystery was a sound message centered on trusting Christ with your needs and forgiving yourself. Johnson became a new favorite author with The Red Door Inn and she secured that spot with A Sparkle of Silver.

Rating and Recommendation: I highly recommend this one to Christian fiction fans who enjoy dual-timeline novels, great escapes to vacations along the shore, and light mysteries. I’m giving it 5 stars.

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