Reading Update: Loves, Likes, & Losses

This past July I shared my Summer Reading List with you. As we are nearing the end of the year, I thought you might like a quick update on those books.

LOVE

Love Held Captive

Love Held Captive I loved this book! The next book in the series is on my TBR. You can read my full review, HERE.

LOVE

The Lady and the Lionheart

The Lady and the Lionheart Did you know this book just won the 2017 Christy Award?! Oh wow, did it deserve it! I absolutely adored this singularly unique novel. I hope to share my review soon.

LIKE

Finders KeepersAll of You

Finders Keepers & All of You These are the first two books in Sarah Monzon’s Carrington Family series. While I enjoyed both novels, I think I preferred the first. You can see my full review of All of You and a mini review of Finders Keepers, HERE.

LOSS

Carolina Dream

Carolina Dream I remember starting this book and struggling to get into it. The pace was a bit slow for my taste and I didn’t feel connected to the characters. It may have been a victim of my struggle to concentrate during my travels in China this summer and no fault of the book at all. Either way, it wound up on my DNF list. I might try it again in the future.

LOSS

The Captive Brides Collection

The Captive Brides While I did finish this novella collection, I ultimately decided not to officially review it.  My reasons in a nutshell:  several of the stories went beyond my estimation of plausibility, the romance was more of an afterthought for a few of the stories than the main plot, and at least one author presented a view which I strongly disagreed with. That said, a couple of them were fun, quick reads with entertaining premises. Also, I do know there are other bloggers who fully enjoyed this collection. So take my opinion for what it is:  my opinion.

LOVE

Finding Love At the Oregon Coast

Finding Love at the Oregon Coast This was a thoroughly entertaining collection of contemporary romance novellas which I can confidently recommend. I enjoyed the fun way the collection began with one novella that included all the heroines in the following novellas. Each of these women were well-rounded, developed characters worthy of their staring roles.

LOSS

One Thousand White Women

One Thousand White Women – The real sour apple in the bunch. I loved the unique premise of this book, but the execution went in a direction I didn’t anticipate or care to read. It contained cursing and glorified situations I consider sinful. This is permanently on my DNF list.

LOVE

Turtles in the Road

Turtles in the Road The golden apple! I absolutely fell in love with this novel and have read it twice now – and I am NOT a rereader! I cannot say enough how much I just adore this novel! You can find my full review of this hilarious contemporary Christian romance, HERE.

WAITING

Beneath the golden veil

Beneath a Golden Veil This one breaks my heart because I have wanted to read it for so long and I still haven’t. I know. I know. I said I was going to read it and I fully intended to read this one on the plane to China. That was my downfall right there. I could not have concentrated on that flight to save my life. I knew better than to even attempt reading. And so this poor book is still languishing on my TBR list. *sigh* Soon. I will read this one soon.

WAITING

from this moment

From This Moment Another book I fully intended to read and just didn’t. I don’t know why. I have no excuse other than:  life. You know? That annoying thing that gets in the way of reading. Thus this one is also still waiting on my TBR list.

What about you? Do you ever make reading lists? Do you always finish them or are you like me and life gets in the way?

 

My Review – All of You

My Review - All of You - Monzon

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All of You is a dual-timeline romance.

Maryland, Present Day

Jacquelyn Rogers can rebuild anything…except the shambles of her past. A restorer of vintage planes, she’s worked hard to earn the reputation of being one of the guys. The last thing she needs is a former Navy pilot fighting his own inner demons stepping in to defend her from dangers she thought she’d outrun long ago. Some battles must be fought alone.

After a freak accident severs Lieutenant Michael “Finch” Carrington’s dreams, as well as two limbs, he’s left with nothing but a fragile faith and a duty-bound promise to watch out for his friend’s baby sister. A promise she insists is as unnecessary as it is unappreciated. But when she turns the tables and begins to weld together the broken parts of his life, it may be his heart that is in need of protection.

England, 1944

With the world at war yet again, Alice Galloway rejects her father’s traditional expectations and offers her piloting expertise to the Air Transport Auxiliary. She may be a woman in a man’s world, but when she overhears key intelligence, she must find the strength to transcend boundaries and her own fears. Or countless people may die.

Sometimes the past reaches forward to bring hope to the future.

Why This Book:

As I mentioned in a previous post, I had the pleasure of meeting Sandra Barela in June at the SoCal Christian Writers Conference where she invited me to join her Celebrate Lit Team. When I saw the opportunity to join a Celebrate Lit tour for Sarah Monzon’s latest book, All of You, I was immediately excited because I had previously read and enjoyed Monzon’s award-winning debut novel, The Isaac Project. Signing on to this tour was a no-brainer.

Opening Line:

Present Day, 100 Miles off the Coast of Virginia

Lieutenant Michael “Finch” Carrington pulled up the zipper of his green flight suit and stared at the mass on the opposite rack.

First Impressions:

As a dual-timeline novel, this book felt as though it had two first chapters – one for each timeline. Starting with the contemporary timeline was a clever move by Monzon since that scene held the most drama. Beyond that, she did an excellent job putting the reader on a naval ship and showing us what it meant to “Finch” to be there. In a very tangible way, it shows the readers exactly what is at stake and leaves us wanting to know what happens next. Monzon’s second chapter, which reads as the first chapter for her historical timeline, has more dialogue and less action, but does a good job introducing us to another main character, Alice Galloway, and getting us settled in the realities of her world. In fact, one of my favorite quotes is from the second chapter:

She peered down the harbor line looking for any evidence that reality wasn’t a nightmare. That the tension-charged air she’d breathed on the voyage and the hushed whisperings of U-boat threats were due to her falling down a rabbit’s hole like the Alice in Lewis Carrol’s storybook.

Characters:

Lieutenant Michael “Finch” Carrington –  A young man who’s grown up knowing exactly where he belongs and what he wants from life . . . until a freak accident forever separates him from everything he wanted and expected. He’s forced to reexamine not only his life’s goals, but his very identity. Anyone who has ever grappled with identifying their purpose in life, or faced unexpected tragedy and struggled to make sense of it, will easily relate to this character.

Jacquelyn “Jack” Rodgers – A confident airplane mechanic who specializes in restoring old planes. Capable of caring for herself, her depressed father, and her older brothers, Jack’s not afraid of much . . . except her abusive ex-boyfriend Mitch Stavros. Wanting to believe she can handle anything, Jack fights her fear and resists the assistance Michael and her family try to offer her.

All of You - Shoe Image Quote

Henry Caldwell – A well-liked, confident newspaper reporter with his own agenda, he is attracted to Alice (and she to him) from the start. He won’t take no for an answer when he asks if he may show her around town. His actions following this show him to be good and noble, but he is often away and an unplanned encounter with Alice threatens to destroy their budding relationship.

Emotional Engagement & Pacing of the Story:

While both timelines have their share of action to propel the reader forward, it’s really the character development that kept me reading – especially as regards the contemporary timeline. The author did an excellent job of giving me enough answers to keep me from feeling frustrated while still leaving me with enough questions that I didn’t want to put the book down.

Elements I especially liked/disliked:

I especially enjoyed the fully-developed characters and watching them grow and change in this book. Michael and Alice were both characters enduring or exploring roles in life which I have not read about before (rehabilitating amputee & WWII female pilot), and I always enjoy uniqueness such as that.

As much as I enjoyed this novel, I must be candid in saying that the scene in the forest between Alice and Henry (and to a lesser extent the events immediately leading up to it) made me cringe a bit. I just didn’t buy it. For two reasons: 1) WWII is definitely not my area of historical expertise and I don’t read a ton of fiction set in WWII, but this particular sequence seemed just a tad beyond my sense of plausibility. That said, sometimes reality defies belief, and I would love to learn there is a historical basis for the events described. 2) I just didn’t buy the way Alice and Henry reacted in this scene and the way it all unfolded between them from that point.

Themes:

For both timelines, there is an overarching theme of self-discovery and finding ones’ purpose in life.

Ending:

As I mentioned above, the WWII timeline lost a little of its shine for me near the end. Those concluding events and reactions just felt a bit too contrived. I also felt Henry and Alice needed more time than they got after that forest scene. However, it was by no means a terrible ending, and I was very pleased with Jack and Michael’s conclusion and how it played out.

Overall Rating:

3 out of 5 stars

BONUS Mini Review:

Although the books in Monzon’s Carrington Family Series can be read as stand alone books, I prefer to read a series in order whenever possible. Therefore, I made a point to read Monzon’s Finders Keepers before reading All of You, and boy am I glad! Finders Keepers was a fun and fast-paced read with some seriously swoon-worthy moments and true heart! I highly recommend it!  (P.S. If you’ve read it, am I the only one who mentally cast Chris Hemsworth as Trent?)

What do you think of dual timeline romance novels? Can you relate to these characters’ struggles to identify their life’s purpose and/or make sense of tragedy?

TWEETABLES:

Relatable characters make sense of tragedy and find their purpose. #BookReview

Character development that keeps you reading. #BookReview

Psst! Feel free to borrow any of the above photos in this post for sharing on social media and remember to tag me @KathleenDenly !

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About the Author

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Sarah Monzon is a Navy chaplain’s wife and a stay at home mom to the two cutest littles in the world. Playing pretend all day with them isn’t enough, she spends the evenings after their heads hit the pillow to create her own imaginary characters. When she isn’t in the world of make believe, she can be found in the pine forests of western Washington taking care of her family, fostering friendships, and enjoying all the adventures each day brings.

Her debut novel, The Isaac Project, skyrocketed to Amazon bestseller status while her Sophomore book, Finders Keepers, won the 2017 Selah award for contemporary romance.

Guest Post from Sarah Monzon

I’m so excited to be here today and getting this opportunity to hang out with y’all in this virtual world. If you are anything like me, you devour books faster than my son drinks orange juice (and he really loves orange juice!). Because of that, it is sometimes hard to come across a book with a unique premise or a message that you haven’t seen incorporated a thousand times before. As a writer, I always try to bring something fresh to the table.

In the first book of the Carrington Family Series, Finders Keepers, neither of my characters were Christians. What? No Christians in a Christian fiction novel? Most Christian fiction books usually have at least one or both main characters a Christians. Don’t worry, they both found their way to Jesus. With All of You, however, I wanted to take yet an even different approach.

I’ve ready lots of books where the main character is angry or upset with God for such-and-such thing that happened in his/her life (I’ve even written a character like that), but I hadn’t really read a story about a character that, no matter what life threw at him/her, he/she was going to trust in God no matter what. As a life-long Christian, this is a message I can identify with. The “If not, He is still good” resonation that is sometimes harder to hold on to in the midst of pain and struggles.

So, as with all my books, I hope the freshness of the story and the realness of my characters will inspire and uplift you as you travel along with them on their journey.

God Bless.

Blog Stops

September 12: A Baker’s Perspective

September 12: Quiet Quilter

September 13: Books, Books, and More Books

September 13: Jeanette’s Thoughts

September 14: Cordially Barbara

September 14: Smiling Book Reviews

September 15: Avid Reader Book Reviews

September 15: Carpe Diem

September 16: Inklings and notions

September 16: Christian Bookaholic

September 17: Christian Chick’s Thoughts

September 17: Artistic Nobody

September 18: Bookworm Mama

September 18: Remembrancy

September 19: Back Porch Reads

September 19: Kat’s Corner Books

September 20: Just Jo’Anne

September 20: Margaret Kazmierczak

September 21: The Power of Words

September 21: Mary Hake

September 22: 100 Pages per Hour

September 22: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

September 23: Zerina Blossom’s Books

September 23: Simple Harvest Reads (spotlight)

September 24: Blossoms and Blessings

September 24: Moments Dipped in Ink

September 25: Kathleen Denly

September 25: His Grace is Sufficient

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Sarah is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/bd52

Materials Disclosure:  I received a free copy of All of You in exchange for an honest review and participation in this blog tour. I purchased my own copy of Finders Keepers. All opinions expressed in my reviews are 100% sincere and 100% my own.

First Line Friday – 9.8.17

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Whether you’re looking for a good book or just curious what others are reading, you’ve come to the right place. Each Friday I pick a book and share the first line with you. This week I am sharing the first line from Finders Keepers by Sarah Monzon – winner of the 2017 SELAH award for contemporary romance.

Finders Keepers

Here’s the first line:

Seville, Spain, 1689

Isabella stumbled along the rough boards of the dock, feeling exposed without her corset and many layers of petticoats.

I thoroughly enjoyed Monzon’s debut novel, The Isaac Project, so when I learned of her Carrington Family series, I jumped at the chance to read more of her writing. I’m especially excited to be part of the upcoming tour for her second book in the Carrington Family series:  All of You. Look for my review to be posted soon!

Now it’s your turn! Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first (or your favorite) line!

Then head on over and share your first line with these friends:

Andi @ Radiant Light

Carrie @ Reading Is My Super Power

Rachel @ Bookworm Mama

Sydney @ Singing Librarian Books

Robin @ Robin’s Nest

Katie @ Fiction Aficionado

Bree @ Bibliophile Reviews

Beth @ Faithfully Bookish

Amanda @ With A Joyful Noise

Jessica @ A Baker’s Perspective

Trisha @ The Joy of Reading

Jeanette @ C Jane Read

Molly @ Molly’s Cafinated-Reads

CJ @ Moments Dipped In Ink

English Lady @ Romances of the Cross

Heather @ Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Sarah @ All the Book Blog Names are Taken

Lauraine @ Lauraine’s Notes

Summer Reading Roundup 2017 +GIVEAWAY!

Summer Reading Roundup 2017 +Giveaway

Hey everybody! Guess what today is? My birthday! So I thought I’d celebrate by sharing the list of books I’ll be reading this summer and giving away a book to one of you awesome readers! (Read through to the bottom for giveaway details.)

Since I will be traveling to China for an adoption next month, I won’t have as much free time to read this summer as I normally would. Therefore, this year’s list is somewhat limited, but here are the books I am hoping to get to:

Love Held Captive

Love Held Captive by Shelley Shepard Gray

Why:  I requested a free copy of this book from NetGalley to review because the premise intrigued me. Then I opened it to read the first line for an FLF post and couldn’t put it down! I made myself stop after 3 chapters because I have other books to finish first, but I can’t wait to get back to this one.

About the Book: 

After the War Between the States, a Confederate officer longs to heal the heart of a beautiful woman—but first he’ll have to right the wrongs that were done to her.

Major Ethan Kelly has never been able to absolve himself of the guilt he feels for raiding a woman’s home shortly before he was taken prisoner during the Civil War. He is struggling to get through each day until he once again crosses paths with Lizbeth Barclay—the very woman he is trying to forget.

Life after the war is not much different for former Captain Devin Monroe until he meets Julianne VanFleet. He knows she is the woman he’s been waiting for, but he struggles to come to terms with the sacrifices she made to survive the war.

When Ethan and Devin discover that their former colonel, Adam Bushnell, is responsible for both Lizbeth’s and Julianne’s pain, they call on their former fellow soldiers to hunt him down. As the men band together to earn the trust of the women they love, Lizbeth and Julianne seek the justice they deserve in a country longing to heal.

The Lady and the Lionheart

The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof

Why:  This one has made several rounds to rave reviews on the book blogger circuit, which got it on my TBR pile. Then I discovered the author is a fellow member of the San Diego Christian Writer’s Guild and met some of her friends at the SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference last month. That made me curious enough to open it and read the first few pages. What I read moved it toward the top of my TBR pile. 🙂 I’m really looking forward to this one!

About the Book: 

Virginia, 1890

Raised amid the fame and mystique of the Big Top, Charlie Lionheart holds the audience in the palm of his hand. But while his act captivates thousands, it’s away from the spotlight where his true heart lies. Here he humbly cares for his pride of lions as if they were his brothers, a skill of bravery and strength that has prepared him for his most challenging feat yet—freeing an orphaned infant from the dark bondage of a sideshow. A trade so costly, it requires his life in exchange for hers, leaving him tarnished by the price of that choice.

As the circus tents are raised on the outskirts of Roanoke, nurse Ella Beckley arrives to tend to this Gypsy girl. All under the watchful eye of a guardian who not only bears a striking resemblance to the child, but who protects the baby with a love that wraps around Ella’s own tragic past, awakening a hope that goodness may yet reign. When their forbidden friendship deepens, Charlie dares to ask for her heart, bringing her behind the curtain of his secret world to reveal the sacrifice that gave hope to one little girl—boldly showing Ella that while her tattered faith is deeply scarred, the only marks that need be permanent are his own.

Finders Keepers and All of You by Sarah Monzon

Why:  I loved her debut novel, The Isaac Project, so when I was offered the opportunity to be part of an upcoming tour for All of You, I jumped on it! Of course, I much prefer reading series books in order (even if they can be read as stand alones), so I am going to try to read Finders Keepers first. The fact that Finders Keepers won the 2017 SELAH award for contemporary romance, is just added assurance that this will be time well spent.

About the Books: 

Finders Keepers

Three lives. Three hundred years. One ship that ties them together.

Florida, Present Day
Summer Arnet will go anywhere to capture the perfect shot that will get her marine photography noticed by the prestigious nature magazine, Our World–even diving in waters haunted by great white sharks. When a treasure hunter with a ladies’-man reputation approaches her about a sunken ship at one of her dive locations, it may be the chance she’s been looking for to launch her career…if his charming smile doesn’t derail her first.

A past tragedy has left a hole in Trent Carrington’s life–a hole he’s tried to fill with women, money, and adventure. Could the feisty marine photographer be the missing piece, or will Trent finally accept that the treasure he seeks can’t be found where rust and moths destroy?

Spain, 1689
The same evil that stole her mother’s life stalks Isabella Castellano. Afraid for her safety, Isabella disguises herself as a cabin boy and hires on to one of His Majesty’s treasure fleet vessels. But has her flight from a known threat only led her to be ensnared in a sea of dangers?

All of You

Maryland, Present Day

Jacquelyn Rogers can rebuild anything…except the shambles of her past. A restorer of vintage planes, she’s worked hard to earn the reputation of being one of the guys. The last thing she needs is a former Navy pilot fighting his own inner demons stepping in to defend her from dangers she thought she’d outrun long ago. Some battles must be fought alone.

After a freak accident severs Lieutenant Michael “Finch” Carrington’s dreams, as well as two limbs, he’s left with nothing but a fragile faith and a duty-bound promise to watch out for his friend’s baby sister. A promise she insists is as unnecessary as it is unappreciated. But when she turns the tables and begins to weld together the broken parts of his life, it may be his heart that is in need of protection.

England, 1944

With the world at war yet again, Alice Galloway rejects her father’s traditional expectations and offers her piloting expertise to the Air Transport Auxiliary. She may be a woman in a man’s world, but when she overhears key intelligence, she must find the strength to transcend boundaries and her own fears. Or countless people may die.

Sometimes the past reaches forward to bring hope to the future.

Carolina Dream

Carolina Dream by Regina Rudd Merrick

Why:  I recently won a free copy of this book from the God Is Love blog. It’s a debut novel (I love reading new authors), the premise sounds interesting, the reviews so far have been positive, and the first few pages read well.

About the Book: 

Sarah Crawford wants more from life than to attend the wedding of her ex-fiancée. An unexpected inheritance in South Carolina comes at the perfect time, just as Sarah is willing to use any excuse to get out of town.

When she meets potential business partner Jared Benton and discovers that a house is part of the inheritance, she is sure that God has been preparing her for this time through a recurring dream. But will a dream about an antebellum mansion, many rooms to be explored, and a man with dark brown eyes give her the confidence to take a leap of faith, leaving friends, family, and her job behind?

The Captive Brides Collection

The Captive Brides Collection by Jennifer AlLee, Angela Breidenbach, Susan Page Davis, Darlene Franklin, Patty Smith Hall, Cynthia Hicky, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Lucy Thompson, and Gina Welborn

Why:  I was perusing NetGalley for books to request for review and found the premise for this novella collection to be intriguing. I am also fairly sure I haven’t read anything by any of these authors before, so it will be a good way to know whether I should be looking for more of their work in the future. Plus, a novella collection might be just the thing to fit between appointments near the end of summer.

About the Book: 

Love Brings Freedom in 9 Historical Romances

Journey along as nine historical women are about to make their escape from some of life’s greatest challenges. Can their captive hearts be freed to dream, to dare, to love?

Love’s Labour’s Found by Jennifer AlLee – Montserrat, West Indies, 1655
Temperance Simms only wanted a better life. Instead, she finds herself labeled a criminal and sold as an indentured servant. After a kind man saves her life, can Temperance trust that God will turn her sorrow into something beautiful?

His Indentured Bride by Angela Breidenbach – Pennsylvania, 1770-1775
Leaving Scotland for a short indenture with her betrothed, Maire Gree’s contract is sold when disaster strikes her kindly owner, and then extended through cruel circumstances. Can Kirk Lachlan’s service in the American Revolution save her or will she lose love and freedom forever?

The Suspect Bride by Susan Page Davis – Oregon, 1890s
Verity Ames cooks at the restaurant where shy lawyer Jack Whitwell eats lunch daily. As Jack works up courage to ask her for a date, the sheriff walks into the restaurant and arrests her for murder.

His Golden Treasure by Darlene Franklin – Barbary Coast, San Francisco, CA, 1873
Goldie Hatfield grows up on in the Barbary Coast until her guardian demands she pay the cost of her upbringing—or work at her brothel. How far will Pastor Joshua Kerr go to set Goldie free?

Through Stormy Waters by Patty Smith Hall – Atlantic Ocean, 1755
Deported to the British colonies for her father’s crimes, Charlotte Singleton helps Captain Andrew Randell when an epidemic breaks out on the ship. Can two battered hearts find love in the midst of a storm?

Moira’s Quest by Cynthia Hickey – New York, 1869
A quest for revenge ends in a marriage of convenience and a feisty Irish lass discovers that not everything is as it seems as family secrets are revealed. An Irish cop, bent on saving the fallen women of Five Points, New York, finds himself thrust into the role of husband with a woman determined to break down a notorious crime boss. Can these two pull together and find a love bigger than they are?

Love’s Escape by Carrie Fancett Pagels – Virginia, 1850
With her life in peril, Lettie seeks escape from slavery. When Nathan offers to “conduct” her North via an unusual segment on the Underground Railroad, will his efforts help or do them both harm?

Waltzing Matilda by Lucy Thompson – Sydney, Australia, 1821
Henry didn’t plan on a runaway convict masquerading as a shepherd. Or on the woman’s baby. Keeping them safe will cost him his freedom—or will it?

A Score to Settle by Gina Welborn – On the Missouri River, 1870
For JoJo the kiss was a means to an end—she wanted his wallet. For Cyrus her kiss changed everything. He vows to help her escape the snake oil salesman she works for, but exposing the man’s lies may mean settling a score at a cost neither JoJo nor Cyrus can pay.

Finding Love At the Oregon Coast

Finding Love at the Oregon Coast – a novella collection by Angela Ruth Strong, Christina Coryell, Heather Whoodhaven,  and Lisa Phillips

Why:  When I was researching the small publishing company, Mountain Brook Ink, in preparation for attending the SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference where the owner would be available for appointments, I discovered this collection with a novella by Christina Coryell. I recognized Coryell’s name as the author of one of my favorite stories (Mowed Over) from the Love at First Laugh novella collection.  So I bought this one because I liked one of the authors (I don’t recognize the others).

About the Book: 

When a wedding is cancelled, three bridesmaids and a runaway bride contemplate the true meaning of love in four related romance novellas.

By Heather Woodhaven–Finding Love in Lincoln City: Liz feels stuck at her little beach magazine until a handsome rival sparks more than just friendly competition.

By Lisa Phillips–Finding Love in Oceanside: Anabeth is looking to get out of her rut when a fender bender and a bizarre date with a former marine leads her to a life of love she could never have imagined.

By Christina Coryell–Finding Love in Cannon Beach: Kadence feels the pressure to write a perfect love song, but an unexpected meeting with a musician will have her living one instead.

By Angela Ruth Strong–Finding Love in Seaside: Christina plans to spend her honeymoon alone, but when the bed and breakfast owner offers her a position as cook, she starts to feel at home in his kitchen…and in his arms.

 

One Thousand White Women

One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus

Why:  I stumbled across this one purely by chance on Amazon and found the premise positively fascinating.

About the Book:

One Thousand White Women is the story of May Dodd and a colorful assembly of pioneer women who, under the auspices of the U.S. government, travel to the western prairies in 1875 to intermarry among the Cheyenne Indians. The covert and controversial “Brides for Indians” program, launched by the administration of Ulysses S. Grant, is intended to help assimilate the Indians into the white man’s world. Toward that end May and her friends embark upon the adventure of their lifetime. Jim Fergus has so vividly depicted the American West that it is as if these diaries are a capsule in time.

Important UPDATE Note:  While I was aware that One Thousand White Women was written for the general market, as opposed to a Christian audience, at the time this post was originally written,  I was unaware of its occasional use of profanity and reference to subjects which some Christians may find distasteful or offensive. Consider yourself warned. This book made my DNF (Did Not Finish) list.

Turtles in the Road

Turtles in the Road by Rhonda Rhea & Kaley Rhea

Why:  This one was highly recommended on a fellow FLF blog and sounds like a fun read with a sense of humor.

About the Book: 

Sometimes a detour takes you exactly where you need to be.

Piper Cope was so sure the Lord called her to be a pastor’s wife. So when her pastor/fiancé breaks it off, she’s every kind of puzzled. Does God even have a purpose for her anymore? On the road halfway between the bridges she’s burned and some kind of new start, she encounters the most unexpected detour. She swerves on a rainy road to miss a turtle and ends up in a ditch with an airbag to the face. Now stuck in this little town, she wonders how in the world she could’ve gotten her God-signals so very crossed. And how in the world is she supposed to know what He wants her to do now? In the meantime, at least the community center guy, Jay Marler, has her working a temporary job there. Problem is, somehow she’s coaching a children’s basketball team. She does not…basketball. And she certainly does not children.

Beneath the golden veil

Beneath a Golden Veil by Melanie Dobson

Why:  The connection to an lesser known part of California’s nineteenth century history will get me every time.

About the Book: 

As elegant as the Sacramento residence she operates, Isabelle Labrie keeps her past concealed, like the treasure she hides under the Golden Hotel. It’s 1853, the heyday of the California Gold Rush. Isabelle is full of hope, staking her claim on the city’s refined clientele and her future on a sweetheart’s promise to marry her when he returns from the gold fields. Then, unexpected guests—fugitive slaves seeking safe passage to the North—force her to confront her past and reconsider her path.

While Isabelle learns to trust God’s provisions, a law student in Virginia must confront his father’s cruelty and rescue a young slave from his family’s tobacco plantation. As the two escape to freedom, and Isabelle risks everything to harbor runaway slaves, the past and present are set on an inevitable collision course—one that reveals hidden treasures of the heart.

from this moment

From This Moment by Elizabeth Camden

Why:  I recently finished reading Against the Tide and want to read more of Elizabeth Camden’s work, plus I was able to snag this one on Audible which means I can listen to it while I do laundry or whatever brainless chore is taking me away from my precious books.

About the Book: 

Romulus White has tried for years to hire illustrator Stella West for his renowned scientific magazine. She is the missing piece he needs to propel his magazine to the forefront of the industry.

But Stella abruptly quit the art world and moved to Boston with a single purpose: to solve the mysterious death of her beloved sister. Romulus, a man with connections to high society and every important power circle in the city, could be her most valuable ally.

Sparks fly the instant Stella and Romulus join forces, and Romulus soon realizes the strong-willed and charismatic Stella could disrupt his hard-won independence. Can they continue to help each other when their efforts draw the wrong kind of attention from the powers-that-be and put all they’ve worked for at risk?

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Three Words and a Kiss by Sondra Kraak

Why: I loved the first two books in Sondra’s Love That Counts series!

About the Book:  Although a little birdy told me to expect this release near the end of summer, it isn’t even out for pre-order yet so I don’t know much about this one. I only know what Sondra shared in her interview with me:

In Three Words and a Kiss (this year’s release), my hero Cam experiences an identity crisis. His safe, routine life is turned upside down when the owner of his blacksmith shop, Samantha Klein, comes to town. Samantha’s nickname is Sam. I wanted their names to rhyme so that Cam feels like even something as fundamental as his name is being stripped from him (she doesn’t like how their names sound alike and asks him to change his. What?! He’s not going for that).

Looking for more reading suggestions? Check out these post by fellow Christian Fiction lovers:

My Top 10 Anticipated Summer Reads & Why They Made the Cut by Chautona Havig

2017 Summer Reading List by Radiant Light

Summer Reading Roundup by Moments Dipped In Ink

Summer Reading List 2017 by A Baker’s Perspective

 

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How it works:

STEP 1 – Tweet or post (publicly) on Facebook the answer to this question & TAG ME @KathleenDenly :

  1. Which book would you like to win a copy of? (You may pick any book from this post OR any book which I have previously reviewed on this blog!)

(Your tweet/FB post could read:  I’m hoping to win BOOK TITLE HERE from @KathleenDenly!)

STEP 2 –  Leave a comment on this post with the answer to this question –

  1. Which of the books in my Summer Reading Roundup 2017 post sound the most appealing to you? (I will add the most popular book to my list of books to review here on the blog!)

RULES:

MUST complete both steps to enter. Shares and comments must be complete by midnight July 17th! Winner will be announced in a special post on this blog July 19th. Winner must contact me at writeKathleenDenly@gmail.com within 24 hours of the announcement and provide an email address for prize delivery.

WINNER WILL RECEIVE:  1 digital copy of their chosen book delivered to their email via Amazon.

Who’s that Hero? – A Matching Game

Who's That Hero - Sondra Kraak Guest Post Image

Happy Monday everyone! Today one of my favorite authors has come up with a super fun matching game to share with us as part of her blog tour celebrating the current sale on one of my favorite books, Two Ways Home. While it is the second book in her fantastic Love That Counts series, it can easily stand on its own…. although I loved the first book as well, and highly recommend it!

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Two-Ways-Home cover image
On sale for just $0.99 NOW through May 25, 2017! Don’t miss out!

She’s about to lose her home. He never wanted to see his again. And a stalker is staking a claim . . .

Washington, 1892

Mary Smith was never one to back down from a challenge. Her father’s health may be failing, but their dairy farm was her mother’s dream, and Mary will do whatever it takes to keep her father from selling it—even if it means sneaking off to the next town to earn money by playing the piano in a questionable establishment. No one seems to understand why home is so important to her, least of all her childhood nemesis who’s just wandered back into town.

When injured Texas Ranger Luke Thomas is forced to return to Pine Creek, Washington, he’s hailed as a hero and thrust into the town’s first race for sheriff. But no one knows the secret he carried to Texas, nor the secret he’s brought home. Setting his perfect aim on returning south, he refuses to get tied down by the town’s admiration, his brother’s disapproval, or the spirited, hardworking dairy girl who’s less annoying than he remembers.

But strange things are happening at the Smith dairy and in Pine Creek, and Luke’s instincts tell him Mary is in far more trouble than she realizes. One thing is certain: “home” is about to get more complicated for them both.

Full of wit and romantic tension, this Christian historical love story sets forth the true meaning of coming home.

A little about Sondra

Please welcome the amazingly talented, Sondra Kraak! 🙂

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Who’s that Hero? A matching game for lovers of Christian fiction.

 

Challenge #1

Luke is my favorite boy’s name. Unfortunately, my husband isn’t as crazy about the name Luke, so my son is named Silas. Match these four Lukes with their historical romance stories:

 

Luke #1: is a Texas Ranger, goes undercover and wears overalls instead of his usual fancy duds, loves to bird hunt, but falls in love with a bird enthusiast, has named his guns.

Luke #2: is a twin, desires to be married and have a family, lives with his brother, Silas (another great name!), looks after his stubborn grandma, falls in love with a heroine who is hiding from danger.

Luke #3: has a “fiery” secret and an aversion to hand-holding, is a wounded Texas Ranger falsely accused, falls in love with a childhood nemesis, finds solace by his father’s grave.

Luke #4: falls in love with a woman he rescues, is falsely accused, seeks vengeance for his father’s death and to gain back his ranch.

Can you match them?

Luke Stone, Swept Away, Mary Connealy

Luke Cameron, A Place Called Home, Lori Wick

Luke Palmer, Love on the Line, Deeanne Gist

Luke Thomas, Two Ways Home, Sondra Kraak

 

Challenge #2

2) My favorite hero is the strong and steady quiet guy who carries deep wounds. Here are some examples. Can you match them with their wounds? (historical and contemporary)

 

Wound 1: His brother followed him into battle and died.

Wound 2: Grew up in a violent home, faced capture, was forced to watch a woman suffer.

Wound 3: He was abandoned and homeless as a boy.

Wound 4: His mother died after a preacher prophesied she’d be healed.

Wound 5: He disappointed his father, doubts a decision that resulted in the death of team members.

Wound 6: His wife died of cancer.

Can you match them?

Tristan Porter, Such a Hope, Sondra Kraak

Malachi Shaw, No Other Will Do, Karen Witemeyer

Daniel Ranslett, From A Distance, Tamera Alexander

Reuben Marshall, Burnin’ for You, Susan May Warren

Matt Jarreau, My Stubborn Heart, Becky Wade

Dean Watters, Raptor 6, Ronie Kendig

 

Challenge #3

And how about those outgoing guys with an edge of flirt in them (or more than an edge of flirt as is the case with some)? They’re fun, too. Match these quotes to their books.

 

Quote 1.

She tapped the green accept button. “Hello?”

“Hey, beautiful you want to grab some coffee?”

Furrows formed between her eyes. Who in the world? “I’m sorry. You must have the wrong number.”

She pulled the phone away from her ear but stopped short of disconnecting when she heard the voice on the other end say her name. Her lips turned down. “Who is this?”

“Who do you think it is, babe? I told you I’d call.”

 

Quote 2.

He smiled. She was scared all right. But so much the better. That would make her wish he were with her. “If we were married, I’d stay and protect you.”

She stiffened. “I’ll have you know I was on my own long before I came here. I didn’t need a man then, and I certainly don’t need one now.”

 

Quote 3.

I smiled and nudged my shoulder playfully against his. “Are you ever serious?”

His fingers tightened against mine. In the darkness of the underground cave, the flickering flames of the fire cast a glow over his face and lit up his eyes. “I’m serious when I say I’d allow myself to be thrashed any day in order to see you.”

. . .

“You’re crazy,” I whispered.

“Not half as crazy as you,” he whispered back.

 

Quote 4. 

“How’ve you been, sweet one?”

“I’ve been fine, showboat.”

He grinned crookedly. “Showboat?”

“Yep.” The sizzle of meat on the stove reminded her or her spaghetti sauce. She returned to the kitchen . . . “Since you insist on calling me a nickname, I figured it was only fair to respond in kind.” She positioned herself at the stove and went back to work on the ground turkey.

[He] crossed his muscled arms and leaned a hip against the edge of the countertop. “Was showboat the best you could do? I don’t like it.”

“Good.”

“What about Maverick? Adonis?”

She rolled her eyes.

“This might be too obvious, but how about Stud?”

“Believe me. It’s not in the least obvious.”

“Well, showboat’s no good.”

She made a scoffing sound. “Tough luck. You don’t get to pick.”

 

Quote 5.

[He] pulled out and she took off her hat, tossed it on the dash, then tugged out the tie from her hair, running her fingers through the strands to work out the snarls.

Only then did she see [him] glancing t her, more than once.

“What?”

“Nothing, I’m just wondering what’s on your agenda. ’Cause we have work to do.”

She stared at him, and then he smiled. “I’m just kidding, Speedy. I wouldn’t think of hittin’ on you.”

She laughed too, because this was their game.

He flirted, she pushed him away, and round and round they went.

“I wouldn’t date you anyway.”

“Aw, c’mon. I’m fun.” He pulled into the Griz, an all-night convenience store.

“Believe me, I know. Word gets around . . . all fun, all the time.”

 

Quote 6.

He’d test how much she really wanted his help. He moved his horse beside her and offered a hand. “Climb on.”

Without looking at him, she shook her head. “Walking is good exercise. It allows space to think.”

That’s what he thought. Stubborn. Self-sufficient. “How about space to breathe, or is that unnecessary?”

She grunted, a sound so unladylike his grin shot up the sides of his face. Space between them was a good idea. He’d lost his mind offering to let her nestle in the saddle in front of him. They had enough issues with closeness. No need to encourage more.

She’d be too proper to accept, anyway. Not that sharing a ride was improper. Not out here where priorities shifted from maintaining decorum to being neighborly.

She slipped, reached for a branch, and cried out as her hand slid along a spindly limb.

“You all right?”

She paused, drew in a deep breath, and wiped her brow.

Yeah, she was fine, besides the scowl the size of Washington that settled on her face.

“I’ll take that ride.”

His heart stumbled. He’d have to dig deep for the ability to remain unscathed by her leaning against him.

Who was he kidding? She scathed him in every way. He’d have about as much hope to remain unaffected by her nearness as the sun would have of hanging in the sky longer.

Can you match them?

Joe Denton, A Bride in the Bargain, Deeanne Gist

Ty Porter, Meant to Be Mine, Becky Wade

Sir Collin, A Daring Sacrifice, Jody Hedlund

Barrett Clarke, One Plus One Equals Trouble, Sondra Kraak

Pete Brooks, Rescue Me, Susan May Warren

Trent Carrington, Finders Keepers, Sarah Monzon

 

Challenge #4

In my interview today with Trisha Robertson, I list several guilty pleasures (I could have listed ten). Name one of them and tell me one of yours!

 

 Challenge #5

In my interview last Saturday with Katie Donovan, I shared my favorite place to read. What is it? And what is your favorite place to read?

 

BONUS Challenge

Finally, a bonus question. Can you guess my two favorite heroes of this entire game—not counting my own. And who of this bunch is your favorite?

 

Thanks for playing! Feel free to invite a friend to join the fun.

Who’s that Hero? A matching game for lovers of Christian fiction. – Click to Tweet!

Try this Matching Game for Christian Bibliophiles! – Click to Tweet!

Now check your answers and post your score below!

Answers

 

Lukes:

Luke #1: Luke Palmer, Love on the Line, Deeanne Gist

Luke #2: Luke  A Place Called Home, Lori Wick

Luke #3: Luke Thomas, Two Ways Home, Sondra Kraak

Luke #4: Luke Stone, Swept Away, Mary Connealy)

 

Quiet, wounded heroes:

Wound 1: Daniel Ranslett, From A Distance, Tamera Alexander

Wound 2: Dean Watters, Raptor 6, Ronie Kendig

Wound 3: Malachi Shaw, No Other Will Do, Karen Witemeyer

Wound 4: Tristan Porter, Such a Hope, Sondra Kraak

Wound 5: Reuben Marshall, Burnin’ for You, Susan May Warren

Wound 6: Matt Jarreau, My Stubborn Heart, Becky Wade

 

Outgoing, flirtatious heroes:

Quote 1: Trent Carrington, Finders Keepers, Sarah Monzon

Quote 2: Joe Denton, A Bride in the Bargain, Deeanne Gist

Quote 3: Sir Collin, A Daring Sacrifice, Jody Hedlund

Quote 4: Ty Porter, Meant to Be Mine, Becky Wade

Quote 5: Pete Brooks, Rescue Me, Susan May Warren

Quote 6: Barrett Clarke, One Plus One Equals Trouble, Sondra Kraak

 

Guilty Pleasures:

baths, Calvin and Hobbes comics, parentheses

 

Favorite Reading Spot:

in a cabin on a rainy day by a fire

 

Bonus:

Dean Watters, Matt Jarreau

 

How did you do? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

Remember, Two Ways Home is only on sale for a limited time! Don’t miss out on this seriously fun read!

If you’re interested in following this blog tour for other interviews, character spotlights, and more, here’s the schedule:

Katie at Fiction Aficionado (interview, excerpt), Saturday, May 20
Kathleen Denly (game), Monday, May 22
Trisha at Joy of Reading (interview), Monday, May 22
Beth Erin at Faithfully Bookish (setting spotlight), Tuesday, May 23
Jessica at A Baker’s Perspective (spotlight on heroine), Wednesday, May 24
Sydney at Singing Librarian (interview, spotlight on hero), Thursday, May 25

Two Ways Home Blog Tour May 2017