My Rapid Review – Ladies of Intrigue

 

my rapid review - ladies of intrigue

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3 Page-Turners Under One Cover from Reader Favorite Michelle Griep!
Can truth and love prevail when no one is as they appear?

The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady
Cornish Coast, 1815
When a prim and proper governess returns to England from abroad, she expects to comfort her dying father—not fall in love with a smuggler. Will Helen Fletcher keep Isaac Seaton’s unusual secret?

The Doctor’s Woman (A Carol Award Winner!)
Dakota Territory, 1862
Emmy Nelson, daughter of a missionary doctor, and Dr. James Clark, city doctor aspiring to teach, find themselves working side by side at Fort Snelling during the Dakota Uprising. That is when the real clash of ideals begins.

A House of Secrets
St. Paul, Minnesota, 1890
Ladies Aide Chairman, Amanda Carston resolves to clean up St. Paul’s ramshackle housing, starting with the worst of the worst: a “haunted” house that’s secretly owned by her beau—a home that’s his only means of helping brothel girls escape from the hands of the city’s most infamous madam.

My Thoughts

The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady

Helen Fletcher is a surprisingly determined young woman whose past has left her more than a little biased against Isaac Seaton. Yet his complicated past (and present) winds up being the very thing which draws them together. A fresh twist on the robin-hood concept, complicated by questions of biblical morality, this story was fun to read and kept me turning the pages.

The Doctor’s Woman

The romance between Emmaline “Emmy” Nelson and Dr. James Clark was, by far, my favorite of the three entertaining novels included in this collection. Unexpectedly paired to tend to the soldiers and Sioux people encamped at Fort Snelling, the two work side-by-side on a daily basis allowing their friendship to blossom into something more. With several sweet moments that warmed my heart and enough surprises to keep me reading, this is a story I could have kept reading for much longer, despite its satisfying conclusion.

A House of Secrets

A bit reminiscent of the plotline from A Heart Most Certain by Melissa Jagears, this story nevertheless held its own charm. Featuring a heroine struggling to win her father’s heart and a hero fighting to right past wrongs, you can’t help but root for the two of them as they overcome fierce adversaries, troublesome secrets, and life-threatening events.

Overall Conclusion:

This collection takes the reader from a small town on the Cornish Coast of 1815 to the American frontier of 1862 and finally to 1890 St. Paul, Minnesota. With engaging characters and entertaining plot twists as diverse as their settings, all three stories are fully worthy of your time and money.

Overall Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Available: Amazon

Let’s Chat! Have you read any of Michelle’s other books? Which is your favorite?

TWEETABLE:

Three well-written stories with engaging characters, vivid descriptions and entertaining plot-twists, all in one collection. #BookReview

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About the Author

Michelle Griep

Michelle Griep has been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She seeks to glorify God in all that she writes—except for that graffiti phase she went through as a teenager. She resides in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a local high school co-op. An Anglophile at heart, she runs away to England every chance she gets, under the guise of research. Really, though, she’s eating excessive amounts of scones while rambling around a castle. Michelle is a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and MCWG (Minnesota Christian Writers Guild). Keep up with her adventures at her blog “Writer off the Leash” or visit michellegriep.com.

 

3 Reasons to Read Historical Fiction

Guest post by Michelle Griep

 

Believe it or not, some readers snub historical fiction, preferring instead to stick to contemporary reads. Several have good reason to, simply preferring one genre over another. But others have never given historical fiction a try. If you fall into that camp, here are some reasons you should consider reading a tale from the past.

  1. Historical fiction books are not as boring as your high school history class.

Does the thought of endless names and dates make you break out into hives? Good news! Historical fiction is a painless way to glean some historic facts without mindless memorization. You can experience a different era and culture vicariously through heroes and heroines that live on the pages of yesteryear.

  1. Makes for great conversation.

In a world that prides itself on keeping up with the Kardashians, dare to add a little cultural zest to your next dinner conversation. Reading historical fiction arms you with interesting tidbits of things that’ve happened in years gone by.

  1. Because truth is timeless.

Some people yearn to go back to a simpler time. The truth is, though, that the grass isn’t necessarily greener on the historic side of the fence. People have had tough issues to deal with no matter the era. . .but therein lies a great reason to read historical fiction: truth is timeless. Be it ancient, biblical, medieval, Victorian, or anything in between, truth never changes.

In my new release, Ladies of Intrigue, you’ll experience all these things and more. Find out about the smuggling trade in Cornwall in The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady. Learn about the rough and dangerous life on a military fort during the 1860’s in The Doctor’s Woman. Find out why the gilded age wasn’t as glittery as we often think in A House of Secrets.

Don’t be doomed to repeat history. Grab a cup of tea and master it with a great read!

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, February 23

The Power of Words, February 23

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, February 23

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 23

Blogging With Carol, February 24

Reflections From My Bookshelves, February 24

Jeanette’s Thoughts, February 24

Mary Hake, February 24

Kathleen Denly, February 25

Genesis 5020, February 25

Splashes of Joy, February 25

For the Love of Literature, February 25

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, February 26

Faery Tales Are Real, February 26

Through the Fire Blogs, February 26

Blossoms and Blessings, February 26

Inspired by fiction, February 27

All-of-a-kind Mom, February 27

Back Porch ReadsFebruary 27

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, February 27

A Baker’s Perspective, February 28

Andy Carmichael, February 28

Stories By Gina, February 28

Emily Yager, March 1

Multifarious, March 1

A Reader’s Brain , March 1

Baker kella, March 1

Bibliophile Reviews, March 2

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 2

Remembrancy, March 2

Just the Write Escape, March 3

BigreadersiteMarch 3

Inspiration Clothesline, March 3

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, March 4

Vicky Sluiter, March 4

Ashley’s Bookshelf, March 4

Book by Book, March 4

Kat’s Corner Books, March 5

Inklings and notionsMarch 5

Living Life Free in Christ, March 5

The Morning Chapter, March 5

Tell Tale Book Reviews, March 6

Pause for Tales, March 6

Simple Harvest Reads, March 6 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Daysong Reflections, March 6

Texas Book-aholic, March 7

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 7

Janices book reviews, March 7

A Humble Cup of Lukewarm Tea, March 8

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, March 8

Christian Author, J.E. Grace, March 8

Carpe Diem, March 8

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card and a free copy of Ladies of Intrigue!!

Be sure to comment on blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway!

Click the image below to enter.

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My Rapid Review – Laurel’s Dream

my rapid review - laurel's dream

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Journey 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?

My Thoughts

A tale of determination, compassion, loyalty, and new beginnings wrapped in the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Everything about this novel grabbed my heart, enthralled my senses, and wrapped me up in the beauty and trials of life in the Blue Ridge.

From the first page, I fell in love with the plucky heroine, Laurel, who had dreams bigger than the life she led, yet didn’t allow her desires to overcome her integrity. In fact, even her dreams weren’t about her. Laurel’s whole being vibrated with a love and compassion for others without crossing the line into too-perfect-to-be-real. Laurel certainly had her weaknesses, but the love in her heart outshined them all. It was no wonder the hero, Jonathan Taylor didn’t take long to recognize what a special woman she was. Still, their budding friendship faced many obstacles on its way to love.

Jonathan arrived in Maple Springs hoping for a chance at redemption — a way to prove his worth to his father and himself despite the physical limitations which prevented him from following his brothers into war and drove him from his home in England. Despite his uncle’s letters, he didn’t fully understand the cultural differences he’d face in Maple Springs and how significant they would be to his role as their new teacher. Jonathan faced an uphill battle if he wanted to become an accepted member of the Maple Springs community. As the reader, I loved taking on that battle with Jonathan through Pepper Basham’s well-written story.

Packed full of surprises that will keep you turning the page, this novel is more than a romance between a man and a woman. It’s a story of our Creator’s love, the ties that bind families and communities together, and the sins that threaten to tear them apart. I highly recommend this story to anyone hoping for an emotional journey that leaves them cheering in the end.

Overall Rating: 5 of 5 stars!

P.S. It’s no secret that I am a fan of Pepper’s writing, but this may be my favorite of all her stories. She really outdid herself. If you haven’t read anything by Pepper Basham yet (gasp!) this is a fantastic place to start!

P.P.S. For anyone wondering: I purchased my own copy of this book. Go get yours!

Available: Amazon

Let’s Chat! Have you read any of the books from the My Heart Belongs In ___ series? If you’ve read Pepper’s previous books, which is your favorite?

TWEETABLE:

A tale of determination, compassion, loyalty, and new beginnings wrapped in the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. #BookReview

 

Click HERE to follow my blog and make sure you don’t miss out on any of my upcoming reviews and other fun posts!

Are you a Kathleen’s Readers’ Club member? It’s free (of course) and KRC members receive exclusive content, are eligible for exclusive seasonal book giveaways, and more! Join Today!

My Rapid Review – Catching Christmas

My RAPID Review - Catching Christmas

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This Year, Christmas Comes Just in Time

As a first-year law associate, Sydney Batson knows she will be updating her resume by New Year’s if she loses her current case. So when her grandmother gets inexplicably ill while she’s in court, Sydney arranges for a cab to get her to the clinic.

The last thing cab driver Finn Parrish wants is to be saddled with a wheelchair-bound old lady with dementia. But because Miss Callie reminds him of his own mother, whom he failed miserably in her last days, he can’t say no when she keeps calling him for rides. Once a successful gourmet chef, Finn’s biggest concern now is paying his rent, but half the time Callie doesn’t remember to pay him. And as she starts to feel better, she leads him on wild-goose chases to find a Christmas date for her granddaughter.

When Finn meets Sydney, he’s quite sure she’s never needed help finding a date. Does Miss Callie have an ulterior motive, or is this just a mission driven by delusions? He’s willing to do whatever he can to help fulfill Callie’s Christmas wish. He just never expected to be a vital part of it.

My Thoughts

A hilarious romp through small-town America, this story will keep you reading just to see what craziness happens next.

If you were ever a fan of the Gilmore Girls and remember the character, Luke Danes — the cranky-but-lovable cafe owner — you’ll have a fair idea of the hero’s personality in Terri Blackstock’s Catching Christmas. Picture Gilmore Girls‘ Luke as a taxi driver stuck with the sweetest — if a bit mischievous — little old lady suffering from severe memory difficulties and a tendency to nod off in the backseat without telling him where he is supposed to take her next, and you have a fair idea of the comedy involved. Terri’s hero, Finn, just wants to do his job, talk as little as possible, and pay his rent on time. No muss, no fuss. But his softy-heart and a guilty conscience just won’t let him push kind-hearted Miss Callie into the “somebody else’s problem” category. At one point likening the sweet old woman to a parasite that won’t leave his mind alone, Finn finds himself driving Miss Callie all over town while Miss Callie’s granddaughter fights to save the job that is footing Miss Callie’s bills. When the hero and the heroine finally get together, their mutual concern for Miss Callie’s welfare cause both an immediate clash and a common bond. Following along as Miss Callie leads them to a Christmas they’ll never forget, was such a pleasure, this book deserves a place on every reader’s bookshelf.

Available: Amazon 

Let’s Chat! Have you finished your Christmas shopping or, like Miss Callie, are you still searching for that final special gift? 

TWEETABLE:

A hilarious romp through small-town America, this story will keep you reading just to see what craziness happens next. #BookReview

Click HERE to follow my blog and make sure you don’t miss out on any of my upcoming reviews and other fun posts!

Are you a Kathleen’s Readers’ Club member? It’s free (of course) and KRC members receive exclusive content, are eligible for exclusive seasonal book giveaways, and more! Join Today!


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About the Author

Terri-Blackstock-200x300

Terri Blackstock has sold over seven million books worldwide and is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author. She is the award-winning author of Intervention, Vicious Cycle, and Downfall, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, the SunCoast Chronicles, and the Restoration Series. Catching Christmas is her first Christmas romance. Visit her website at www.terriblackstock.com Facebook: tblackstock Twitter: @terriblackstock

From Terri Blackstock

Enjoy this premium excerpt from Catching Christmas

https://aerbook.com/books/-128993.html?utm_source=pubpage

To get you in the Christmas mood, here’s an early holiday playlist:

“White Christmas” sung by Bing Crosby

“I Heard the Bells” sung by MercyMe

“Light of the World” sung by Lauren Daigle

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” sung by Amy Grant

“Don’t Save it All for Christmas Day” sung by Avalon

“Till the Season Comes ‘Round Again” sung by the Katinas

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 15

Daysong Reflections, December 15

Genesis 5020, December 15

Back Porch ReadsDecember 15

The Power of Words, December 16

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 16

Quiet Quilter, December 16

Among the Reads, December 17

Kathleen Denly, December 17

By The Book, December 17

Lighthouse Academy, December 17

Cultivating Us, December 18

Simple Harvest ReadsDecember 18 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)

Remembrancy, December 18

Caffeinated Christian Raves – N – Reviews, December 19

Jennifer Sienes: Where Crisis and Christ Collide, December 19

Christian Author, J.E. Grace, December 19

All-of-a-kind Mom, December 20

amandainpa, December 20

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, December 20

Multifarious, December 21

Cathe Swanson, December 21

Stories By Gina, December 21

Connect in Fiction, December 22

Have A Wonderful Day, December 22

Splashes of Joy, December 22

Bibliophile Reviews, December 22

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 23

Lis Loves Reading, December 23

Mary Hake, December 23

Bigreadersite, December 23

Book by Book, December 24

Pause for Tales, December 24

To Everything A Season, December 24

Southern Gal Loves to Read, December 25

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, December 25

Vicky Sluiter, December 25

Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 26

Inklings and notions, December 26

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 26

Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, December 27

Captive Dreams Window, December 27

Texas Book-aholic, December 27

A Baker’s Perspective, December 27

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 28

Older & Smarter?, December 28

Janices book reviews, December 28

Carpe Diem, December 28

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Terri is giving away a grand prize of a finished copy of Catching Christmas and a Christmas Tree Ornament!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway!

Click the image below to enter.

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My Review: The Thorn Bearer

This review was originally published almost 3 years ago, but some things are worth repeating. In light of Pepper Basham’s upcoming historical romance release, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge – Laurel’s Dream, I thought it timely to recall her first historical romance (the one that made me an instant fan).

Thorn Bearer Review Image

I discovered The Thorn Bearer by Pepper Basham via an Instagram post by RachaelReadsFiction. I followed the link to her blog where she was so enthusiastic about The Thorn Bearer and its upcoming sequel, The Thorn Keeper, that I was compelled to add The Thorn Bearer to my TBR list.

The Story

English born, American raised, nurse Ashleigh has plans to return to her home country and serve in a hospital treating wounded soldiers in war ravaged England. Already harboring a soul-crushing secret, she suffers personal loss and heartbreaking betrayal before setting off across the Atlantic on the doomed Lusitania.

Much to her consternation, she is joined on this journey by her best friend, Sam Miller, who is traveling to England to reunite with his fiancé, Ashleigh’s sister.  “As they travel across the Atlantic, neither is prepared for the life-altering and heart-breaking journey of their friendship.”

When Ashleigh’s secret is thrown into the light, she is forced to deal with the aftermath and struggles to find her hope in God.

The Experience

Most of you will be familiar with the famous poem about God carrying us through our darkest times. As the reader, I could truly see this happening for Ashleigh. The spiritual aspect of this novel is completely organic and seamlessly woven into the story. Wonderfully written, this book has an almost poetic feel to it. The characters are so rich and the setting so real you’ll question whether you’ve actually lived through these significant events in history.

Having said that, I do feel compelled to issue one warning:  If you have a history of abuse, please be aware this book may contain triggers for you.

Whether you’re looking for a true love story, a strong character arc, a page-turning plot, a taste of history, spiritual encouragement, or a sensory feast, The Thorn Bearer has what you’re looking for.  I highly recommend this book!

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars!

As if reading a fantastic book isn’t awesome enough, I was blessed to win an Advance Reading Copy of the upcoming sequel, The Thorn Keeper!

Materials Note:  I purchased my own copy of this book, for my own reading pleasure.

Updated:

Read my review of Book 2, HERE!

Read my review of Book 3, HERE!

My Rapid Review – Holding the Fort

My RAPID Review - Holding the Fort

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Louisa Bell never wanted to be a dance-hall singer, but dire circumstances force her hand. With a little help from her brother in the cavalry, she’s able to make ends meet, but lately he’s run afoul of his commanding officer, so she undertakes a visit to straighten him out.

Major Daniel Adams has his hands full at Fort Reno. He can barely control his rowdy troops, much less his two adolescent daughters. If Daniel doesn’t find someone respectable to guide his children, his mother-in-law insists she’ll take them.

When Louisa arrives with some reading materials, she’s mistaken for the governess who never appeared. Major Adams is skeptical. She bears little resemblance to his idea of a governess–they’re not supposed to be so blamed pretty–but he’s left without recourse. His mother-in-law must be satisfied, which leaves him turning a blind eye to his unconventional governess’s methods. Louisa’s never faced so important a performance. Can she keep her act together long enough?

My Thoughts

Louisa Bell is tough, determined, creative, and resourceful. She is also loyal, loving, and incredibly vulnerable as a young woman with no family beyond her younger brother, Bradley Willis. Yet, she doesn’t hesitate to put her own future on the line to come to his aid. She didn’t intend to deceive anyone, but in the end, decides going along with the mistaken identity is in everyone’s best interests. As the reader, it is easy to understand how she winds up in the mess she finds herself in, and your heart is torn with hers regarding how to extricate herself with the least amount of damage.

Major Adams is an equally likable character as a widower concerned with the proper upbringing of his daughters yet not wanting to be separated from them. He is continuously harassed and second-guessed by his mother-in-law. And to top it all off, he doesn’t know what to make of the unusual governess who is far too attractive for his own good.

There are several moments of hilarity brought about by the bungled acts of deception, the antics of children, and the foolishness of pride. There are heartwarming scenes of chess games between the two main characters, bonding moments with the daughters, and loyalty between the heroine and her brother. Then there are the heartbreaking, heartstopping moments brought about by the dangers–both expected and unexpected– which originate from a variety of sources.

With well-developed characters, a plot line that grabs your heart and keeps you turning pages, humor that perfectly balances the heavier events, and descriptions that make you feel you’ve been there, Holding the Fort is yet another fantastic example of why I am such a huge a fan of Regina Jennings’s books.

Available: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Christianbooks

BONUS! It’s recently been released on Audible!!!

Additional Reading:  If you’ve already enjoyed Holding the Fort, you’ll also enjoy seeing Louisa’s brother, Private Bradley Willis, meet his match in Bound and Determined – available both individually and as part of the Hearts Entwined novella collection. (Pssst: the collection is great!!!) Also, the second full book in the Fort Reno series, The Lieutenant’s Bargain, is currently availabe for pre-order and scheduled to release December 4th.

Let’s Chat! Which of Regina’s books have you most enjoyed? 

TWEETABLE:

Yet another example of why I am such a huge fan of Regina Jennings’s books! #BookReview @ReginaJennings @KathleenDenly https://bit.ly/2wGJprA

My Rapid Review – Once Upon A Laugh: Eight Novellas With Laughter And Happily-Ever-After

My RAPID Review - Once Upon a Laugh

Today I’m sharing not just one, but eight rapid reviews! That’s because reviewing this collection as a whole would simply not do justice to the wonderful stories contained within its pages.

Since I’ll be rapidly reviewing each these novellas individually, I’m going to start off by sharing the overview description for the collection. Then I’ll work my way through each book in the order they are presented in the collection.

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Ready for a book collection you can’t put down?

Eight brand new contemporary Christian romantic comedies are here to keep you company. Some of your favorite inspirational authors have come together in this collection of all-new novellas.

From light-hearted romance to laugh-out-loud love, this set will put a smile on your face and keep you reading long into the night.


Jane by the Book

Jane by the Book

by Pepper Basham

She lives by the plans. He talks to imaginary characters. Can they team up to solve a family mystery?

Four years ago, Jane Warwick escaped the shame and heartbreak of being jilted at the altar by becoming a housekeeper at the secluded Inn at Simeon Ridge. Predictable and quiet, the inn helps Jane find a place to heal and celebrates her strengths, where she is promoted to head housekeeper. But an unexpected visit to Bath, England, upsets Jane’s plans and sends her out of her comfort zone, directly into the harrowing path of historical detective author, Titus Stewart.

The only plans Titus sticks to are family holidays and the ones that send him careening into his story worlds, but when an uptight and nervous innkeeper stumbles into his life – and his latest novel – nonfiction begins to take on a much more interesting gleam.

As the unlikely pair delve into the mystery behind a one-hundred-and-fifty-year-old letter, will they both uncover a romance that stands the test of time?

My Thoughts

Titus is definitely one of my favorite heroes of this year. His personality is so fun to read and the way he treats Jane just melts my heart. Watching the two of them get to know each other while working to solve the mystery of Jane’s ancestor was both heartwarming and hilarious.  This fun story features unique characters you won’t soon forget.

Jane by the Book is fully readable as a stand-alone novella, but the couple from Pepper Basham’s Second Impressions do play a major part in this story and reading Jane by the Book before reading Second Impressions will result in certain spoilers. So I would recommend reading Second Impressions before reading Jane by the Book.

Favorite Quotes:

Maybe he could walk close enough to see her face and her book as he disembarked. Or he’d just look like the good-natured stalker he was.

Real life is filled with enough sad endings. I stick to the happy ones when I have the chance to read.

Someday you’re going to look back on your life and wish you’d taken a chance. The only way to become braver is to step out into what you fear.

You are significant. God doesn’t make mistakes, and He’s been working on your story much longer than you have.

If God can use a talking donkey and a group of disgruntled fishermen, I think he can inspire an author with the right heart and abilities to create a story that will touch people’s lives.

(Note to Pepper Basham should you happen to stop by:  I am going to print this last one and post it near my computer. Thank you!)


Crossed Out

by Christina Coryell

Ruth Erickson always spends her morning break doing the crossword puzzle. Tate Darrow just messed it up. What’s that old saying about love and war?

Ruth Erickson is good at crossword puzzles. Stupid good at crossword puzzles. It might even be her thing, if that weren’t a sad thing to claim as a thing. She would probably say her thing was taking care of her daughter, Emily, a spunky nine-year-old with a dog fascination. Maybe being a waitress. but she was mainly good at that in order to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads.

In light of that knowledge about crosswords, it’s perfectly understandable why she freaked out when Tate Carrow started writing on her crossword puzzle at the cafe. Who does that? Besides, she didn’t know at the time that he’d taken a sabbatical from his job as a photojournalist to visit his ailing father. Certainly didn’t know that his sudden inheritance of a dilapidated mountain cabin and a moody dog had him out of sorts.

Love is definitely in the air. Puppy love – between Emily and the dog. Romantic love between Ruth and Tate would be infinitely more puzzling. And yet . . .

My Thoughts

My first introduction to the delightful writing of Christina Coryell was the first book in her Beards and Belles series, Mowed Over. It was so different and fun to read that I immediately knew I wanted to read more by this author. When I realized Crossed Out featured the hero’s sister from Mowed Over, I was very eager to see how the author brought together the single mom’s love story. And Christina didn’t disappoint. Ruth and Tate are both deep characters that will tug at your heartstrings and make you root for their healing as much as their romance.

Favorite Quotes:

Kids at yard sales were nearly impossible to corral. Grandmas watching kids at yard sales were like wild mustangs, throwing caution and quarters to the wind.

Sometimes it’s only after you have the answer that you can look back and see the clues clearly.


if-she-daresIf She Dares

by Mikal Dawn

He’s a board game champion, but can he win her heart?

Lia Walker burned the bridges—and her boss’s tie—when she quit her job at a car dealership to go work for the chancellor of a prestigious university. But when she arrives only to find out she can’t start her job, she’s burning with only one question: how will she pay her rent?

Garrison McGarville returned from working in Europe a champion—of a Ticket to Ride board game tournament. But his latest job—informing a distressed beauty she doesn’t actually have a job yet—has him feeling more like a loser.

When Garrison comes up with what he hopes is a game-winning move, will Lia dare to accept?

My Thoughts

I think the description says a lot about why I laughed so hard while reading this story. With a heroine who sets fire to her boss’s tie and a hero whose claim to fame is winning a board game tournament, how could things possibly be boring? From the very first page I was engaged with these characters and I enjoyed every moment of watching their relationship develop.

Favorite Quotes:

She couldn’t talk when it came to books piled on her coffee table. And end table. And bedside table. And kitchen table. After all, tables were just a different version of a shelf, right?

She stared at him.

He stared back.

Silence.

‘No.’ He couldn’t be implying what she thought he was trying to imply. No. Stinkin’. Way.

He grinned, looking like a dark-haired Dennis the Menace.

‘I quit.’

 


Definitely

by Heather Gray

Dating isn’t on her to-do list. Dating a pastor? Definitely not.

Annie Flamingo is a widow, mother of a precocious nine-year-old, and the owner of Pink Flamingo Graphic Design. Her life is busy 24/7. She has no time for a relationship, let alone a relationship that comes with a ready-made set of expectations and responsibilities. No way, no how.

Paul Larkin took a nontraditional path to the pastorate, but he’s there now. As pastor of Trinity Community Church, he takes his job seriously. People expect him to be steady and strong, a man of composure. Being a pastor doesn’t stop him from being a man, though, and this man sees a woman he’d like to get to know better.

Can two people who want such different things be right for each other? God’s the only one who’s going to be able to sort out this mixed-up mess.

My Thoughts

Oh, this heroine and I could definitely be friends … minus the coffee thing. I don’t do coffee. But in so many other ways she and I can relate. I may not be a widow (thank you, Lord) and have never dated a pastor, but I have definitely been in a position where I basically made God drag me kicking and screaming down the path He wanted me to follow. LOL Thank you, Lord, for your infinite patience and love. If you’ve ever pulled a Jonah, this is a story you’ll relate to as well. Plus it’s just plain funny to watch it all go down.

Favorite Quotes:

She’d watched him preach dozens of sermons, and she’d never once seen the expression currently on his face. It was like befuddlement had collided with bemusement, and together they’d decided to have a knock-down-drag-out brawl with bewilderment.

Annie did what any normal, healthy, intelligent adult woman would do in the same situation.

She packed up her daughter and fled. From her pastor. Not from evil. She was still fairly convinced he wasn’t evil.

Every person should have people who loved him or her enough to give an open-armed welcome on a moment’s notice.

 


Under the Honey MoonUnder the Honey Moon

by Jessica R. Patch

A honeymoon cottage reunites a pair of childhood friends. Can it offer them a future filled with happily-ever-after?

When B&B owner Juliet Miller’s childhood crush shows up on her doorstep, she thinks he’s come to honor a pact and pop the question. But he’s already engaged and offers her a bargain she can’t turn down. Bowie Nichols has always seen Juliet as a friend until shifting feelings has him second guessing whether or not he’s marrying the right woman.

My Thoughts

She may share a name with the infamous Shakespearean character, but she has no interest in living out her own tragedy–she insists the famous play is not a romance. Juliet has built her business around newly married couples and made it her mission to help them experience a little bit of fairytale bliss. Trouble is, she can’t seem to find any romance of her own. Well, that’s not true, exactly. Things just aren’t going exactly the way she expected. To say the least. Still, this heroine manages to show God’s true love and grace in circumstances that would make many of us turn into Grumpy of the seven dwarves. Seeing her get her happily ever after? That’s enough to make any reader’s day.

Favorite Quotes:

She did a little line dancing along the side of the road and twirled in the moonlight as she edged up Honey Hill.

“I’m fine. It’s not like I haven’t fallen off roofs before.” He paused. “I’ve actually fallen off a lot of them.” His eyes widened as if he’d had some kind of revelation. “I’d be a terrible Santa.”

“I don’t think broken marriages should diminish the beauty and amazement of marriage itself. I have to believe that even in those painful break-ups, there is wonder and beauty to find–in God.”

 


A Wildly Wonderful WeddingA (wildly) Wonderful Wedding

by Krista Phillips

They may be the worst maid of honor and best man in the history of weddings…

Five years ago, Drake and Danielle had a whirlwind summer romance—but on the day they were going to elope, Drake got cold feet and took the coward’s way out. Now a successful business owner, Drake is more than a little concerned when his best friend announces his upcoming nuptials—to the woman he’s only dated a little over a month.

Danielle is shocked when her best friend announces she’s getting married—in two months—to her boyfriend of a while whoppin’ month. And then she meets the best man. Drake? Her friend is marrying the best friend of her ex-fiancé? She has to do something to help her friend see that this hasty wedding is a mistake. But she can’t do it alone.

Will Drake and Danielle be able to work together to stop this crazy, wild wedding, or will they lose their hearts again in the process?

My Thoughts

While whirlwind romances can make for entertaining stories, I often find them irritatingly implausible. This is why I love A (wildly) Wonderful Wedding. It turns the whirlwind romance premise on its head without denying its real-world plausibility–and ramifications. So, as the reader, I got to have my cake and eat it, too.

P.S. The SUV bit was my favorite part. Too funny.

Favorite Quotes:

Drake’s mouth went dry as Danni opened the door–a flirty tilt to her lips, eyes dancing with welcome, wearing a dress a man would have to be dead not to appreciate.

There. At least she no longer looked like a dead woman walking. The ponytail was staying though–although she fixed it so it was more a messy-on-purpose look instead of a messy-because-I-am-a-slob look.

But she was no longer that girl.

She was a woman–and she knew the life-changing, world-shaking, unconditional love of her true Savior now.

She no longer needed someone to rescue her. God had already done that.


Save the Last Word

by Betsy St. Amant Haddox

When conventional meets creative, who will get the last word?

Free-spirited Zoe Armand has never been conventional. From her multitude of odd-jobs to her bad luck in romance, Zoe blazes her own trail–despite the disapproval of her reputation-obsessed parents.

Straight-laced Ben Marshall is back in Memory, Kansas to pack up his Nonny’s apartment after she’d moved into a nursing home. It’s the perfect opportunity to work on his real passion–his secret blog–and avoid his father’s pressure to commit to VP in the family business.

When Zoe is hired to paint a mural in the nursing home, she’s excited for the excuse to hang out with her former neighbor, Ms. Marshall. When she runs into Ben, she discovers her childhood crush never went away. She’s determined to prove herself to her parents and earn Ben’s affection–but a comedy of errors, a secret identity, and a desire to have the last word threatens to keep them apart.

Ben must choose between the chance to win his freedom from his father and protect the heart of the woman who equally fascinates and bewilders him. Will Zoe and Ben find a way around the obstacles blocking true love? Or will Ben’s brief stay in Memory be the last word for them both?

My Thoughts

It’s always fun to see childhood friends grow into something more. Add in a quirky unique heroine with a big heart, a hero with good intentions but steamroller methods, and interfering relatives? You have a perfect recipe for an entertaining story that will keep you turning the pages.

Favorite Quotes:

Ben shut the door behind Zoe. These were the kind of experiences his readers would assume were fiction. But he couldn’t have invented Zoe if he tried.

“Hey, I didn’t beg,” Zoe kicked one foot out of the shadows and into the swatch of moonlight. “I just asked. Repeatedly.”


The Long GameThe Long Game

by Laurie Tomlinson

Whoever said all is fair in love and war never dealt with small-town football…

When the arts budget gets cut to make room for a new football coach, small-town choir teacher Annie Jacobs has one long-shot chance to save the spring musical: kicking a field goal on national television. But she swore off sports—and the spotlight—forever when her last attempt resulted in social annihilation. And the new football coach is the golden boy she pined for in high school, who was there to witness it all.

Hometown hero Ryan Collins has returned to Lake Greencliff to restore the football program to its former glory, the opportunity for redemption after his first coaching tenure ended in disappointment. When he finds out his second chance came at a cost, he agrees to help prepare Annie for the contest. But he doesn’t count on falling for the fascinating woman who fell off the map after high school, or how much she helps him in return.

When the past threatens to repeat itself, crippling old fears resurface. With their jobs and their students’ futures in the balance, can the show–and their budding romance–go on?

My Thoughts

Two kind-hearted people stuck between a rock and a hard place, overcoming increasing odds and old wounds together? Swoon. Plus, I loved seeing Annie’s faith tested and grown as she waited to see how God would provide. The tension just keeps ratcheting up in this story until you’re on the edge of your seat cheering for these two.

Favorite Quotes:

God didn’t create talent like that to be wasted on fear.

High Shool Annie would have assumed that the next thing after gorgeous, untouchable Ryan Collins squeezed her hand would entail waking up in a pile of her own drool.

Let’s Chat! Which of these stories most intrigues you? Have you read anything by these authors before? 

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Heartwarming, hilarious, surprising, and engaging to the last word, this novella collection is one not to be missed!

My Rapid Review – The Reluctant Groom

My RAPID Review - The Reluctant Groom

about-the-book-2

When everything goes wrong, can two friends discover true love?

When Ray O’Brien’s world is turned upside down, Katie Fairchild wants to help, but the personal cost is high. Neither desires a marriage of convenience, but when Katie blurts the first thing that comes to her mind Ray can’t dismiss her offer of marriage. It would solve all his problems except for one thing—they aren’t in love.

Can these two friends team up for the greater good and perhaps find love along the way, or are their expectations impossible?

My Thoughts

This book took me by surprise in a very good way. I didn’t realize I had certain expectations of the plot until I started reading and had my expectations thrown out the window. I can’t tell you how difficult it is to find a refreshing take on the usual marriage of convenience story, but Kimberly Rose Johnson has done it. The characters in this story and their motivations and choices felt so refreshingly unique and real. It was like they could be my neighbor or my friend.

There was one particular part which I absolutely loved. Without giving too much detail away, I will say that big plans were made, but they didn’t turn out as expected and what made that so fantastic is that they didn’t go melodramatically wrong. Things just sort of played out in a very true-to-life, relationships-are-messy sort of way.

I am delighted by the unique perspective this author has demonstrated in this story and look forward to reading more novels by her.

Absolutely a FIVE-STAR book! 🙂

Let’s Chat! Which book have you read recently that took you by surprise?

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Looking for a refreshing take on a marriage of convenience? Look no further! #BookReview