Today’s Releases!

There are four books being released today on my TBR pile! Thankfully, two of them just arrived thanks to Amazon (in a box I’m sure Sasha will enjoy laying in), one’s an e-book, and the fourth is on hold at the library. I have much reading to do while you’re all watching football this weekend. Here’s the list:

Worth The Wait by Karen Witemeyer

worthwaitBenjamin Porter is one of only two men allowed inside the women’s colony of Harper’s Station, Texas. A freighter by trade, he works closely with local shopkeeper, Victoria Adams, to transport the colony’s goods to market. But it is more than profit that keeps him coming back. He’s fallen hard for the shopkeeper and her son. Tori is brave, beautiful, and a savvy entrepreneur–the ideal partner not only for his business but for his life. Too bad she’s under the impression that a man, any man, is the last thing she needs.

Despite Ben’s consistent kindness, Tori continues to hold him at a distance. His towering height and muscular frame, while attractive, are also dangerous. And she’s faced dangerous men in the past and vowed never again.

After Ben convinces Tori to partner with him in a new venture, delivering goods to area farms and ranches, he finally has a chance to woo her in earnest. But when an accident derails his plans, what once was a chance at love may be lost forever.

Still Life by Dani Pettrey

stilllifeBlacklisted in the photography business over a controversial shot, Avery Tate answered an ad for a crime scene photographer. She expected to be laughed at, but crime scene analyst Parker Mitchell hired her outright–and changed her life. But six months ago, when her feelings for Parker became too strong, she left his employ to sort out her heart.

Now, for the first time, Avery is facing the world that rejected her to attend the gallery opening of a photography exhibit and support her best friend, who modeled for the show. But the only image of her friend is a chilling photo of her posing as if dead–and the photographer insists he didn’t take the shot. Worse, her friend can’t be found. She immediately calls Parker for help. As Avery, Parker, and his friends in law enforcement dig into the mystery, they find themselves face-to-face with a relentless and deadly threat.

Moving Target by Lynette Eason

moving-targetWhen Maddy McKay and Quinn Holcombe don’t show up for Quinn’s surprise birthday party, his friends know that something is very wrong. Their search turns up little beyond evidence that Quinn and Maddy just decided to take off for a long overdue vacation. But it soon becomes apparent that they did not leave of their own accord.

Maddy awakens in a cement room with no idea where she is. But it’s not long before she realizes she’s in the clutches of a madman exacting revenge by hunting. His prey of choice? Humans. Now Maddy and Quinn must run for their lives, hoping to find their killer before the next game begins. Because if they don’t win this game, they die.

Fast, furious, and flirty, Lynette Eason’s relentless suspense barely gives her readers time to catch their breath in this third thrilling installment of the Elite Guardians series.

Rescue Me by Susan May Warren

rescuemeWhen Deputy Sam Brooks commits to something, nothing can sway him–not just on the job as liaison between the Mercy Falls sheriff’s department and PEAK Rescue, but in his private life. He’s the one who stuck around to take care of his mother after his father’s accidental death. And he’s the one–perhaps the only one–who believes Sierra Rose is the perfect girl for him. Safe, practical, and organized, she’s nothing like her hippie, impulsive, bleeding heart sister, Willow.

Willow, however, has been in love with Sam Brooks for as long as she can remember. But she wants her sister to have a happy ending. Besides, Willow has other things to focus on–namely, nabbing the job as youth pastor for her small-town church. Best thing for her to do is to purge Sam from her heart.

Neither can predict the events that will bring them together in a fight for their lives in the forbidding wilderness of Glacier National Park. Stranded, injured, and with the winter weather closing in, Sam and Willow will have to work together to save a crew of terrified teenagers.

An Uncommon Courtship (Plus my first Author Interview!)

I read a lot of books in a year, varying from ones I barely make it through to those I devour in as few sittings as possible. An Uncommon Courtship by Kristi Ann Hunter was the first new release I was looking forward to reading this year, and it did not disappoint in its debut spot. This is the third installment in the Hawthorne House series (plus a prequel novella) and features the affable younger brother, Trent.

I am so excited that Kristi has agreed to be my first author interview! She’s been amazingly kind through the process. See her answers below the book summary.

uncommoncourtshipcoverLife for Lady Adelaide Bell was easier if she hid in her older sister’s shadow–which worked until her sister got married. Even with the pressure of her socially ambitious mother, the last thing she expected was a marriage of convenience to save her previously spotless reputation.

Lord Trent Hawthorne couldn’t be happier that he is not the duke in the family. He’s free to manage his small estate and take his time discovering the life he wants to lead, which includes grand plans of wooing and falling in love with the woman of his choice. When he finds himself honor bound to marry a woman he doesn’t know, his dream of a marriage like his parents’ seems lost forever.

Already starting their marriage on shaky ground, can Adelaide and Trent’s relationship survive the pressures of London society?

Kristi, thanks so much for joining us today! I have a few, hopefully interesting, questions for you.

  1. It’s the first day the kids are back in school after the summer. What are you doing?

Kristi: Sleeping. 🙂 Then writing. I love getting back into schedule after the kids go back to school.

  1. Are you a ninja or a pirate?

Kristi: Can I be both? Kick you in the head while saying arrrr instead of hiya? No? Sigh. I’ll be a ninja. They kick posterior. 😉

  1. Have you ever Googled yourself? If yes, were you surprised with what you found?

Kristi: Every few months so that I can make sure my website is still at the top. But when I first started writing I Googled myself and found that I was already a pretty prominent painter. Hence the addition of the Ann.

  1. Open your text message app. What are the first 10 words that come up automatically?

Kristi: “I think it would make more sense to be a weekend.” So, there you have it.

  1. I loved how Lady Blackstone really shined in this story and can see how she was strong enough to raise a Duke. Might we ever get to hear the story of how she fell in love with Lord Blackstone?

Kristi: I’ve had a lot of people asking about it so I might have to look into it. It’s not a very long story. They’ve always been more settled in my mind, but a lot of people want their story.

  1. You’ve mentioned previously that you scrapped an entire first draft for this story, which I’m sure was very difficult. How did you get through it and keep going (besides the obvious I have a deadline I had to keep)?

Kristi: Deadlines are powerful motivators, but it was more that I believed in the story and I knew I could do better.

  1. What in the world is a rasher? Are there any other words in the book that you use, but still aren’t quite sure what they mean?

Kristi: I haven’t a clue, but I know it’s a measurement of bacon. I vaguely remember looking it up when I was writing to make sure I didn’t give him like 20 pounds of bacon of something, but I don’t remember what it was…Here I go, off to Google to be able to answer your question. Apparently it’s a thin slice, not a measurement. So, yeah. But it sounds cool.

  1. You’ve mentioned before that your heros share character traits with your husband. What, if any, traits do Trent and your husband share?

Kristi: It’s a little harder to pin down with Trent than with some of my other heroes, but probably the most identifying one is that he adores Adelaide’s faults. I’m very blessed to have a man that thinks it’s cute when I forget to do the laundry. Again. 

  1. How did you come up pineapple? Did you think about using any other fruit? (like a Georgia peach, LOL)

Kristi: Okay, this one was one of those very fortunate research rabbits. I was looking up agriculture facts for the prologue and stumbled across the instructions for growing pineapples. They started growing them in England in the 1700s using the Dutch method of growing them in glass hothouses, using horse byproducts to keep the warmth tropical. It was so fascinating that I had to use it. Plus there’s something fun about the word pineapple.

  1. If there’s one lesson you’d like readers to walk away with after reading this story, what is it?

Kristi: You can choose love. It doesn’t have to be a feeling or even something the other person wants. You can choose to love because Biblical love is about what you do for and to the other person. Are you kind, patient, etc.? Choose love. Every day.

Those are some great answers. I really love the lesson of the book too. Relationships, especially marriages, have their hard seasons and choosing love is what gets you through.

Bonus: I love my silly cats who try to read all of my books by osmosis. I’m asking every author about their pets. If you have a pet, what’s their name and your favorite thing about them?  

I have no pets. My kids have pet rocks, though. They have adoption certificates and everything.

LOL, Kristi. You should get them a pet! At least you can’t accidentally kill a rock, though, right?

Review (with a [minor] spoiler!)

The first two pages are enough to give a girl heart palpitations. Trent is already married, plus he’s not finishing his bacon? What?! I forewarn you that as soon as you start reading an Unncommon Courtship that you will not be able to put it down. Will Adelaide and Trent be able to make a real marriage?

I know that so many of us readers have been on #teamtrent for awhile, even referring to him as #mytrent, and waiting, waiting, waiting, for his story to come about. To say I was surprised that his marriage came about as it did is an understatement, but for all the expectations we put on him and pressure Kristi felt in living up to those, she did not disappoint in the least. The book was so very Trent.

I did not expect Trent to struggle so much with figuring out what love is, but I did admire his desire to give their marriage the same foundation that typical couples would have experienced. I think that Trent wading his way through the great love question provides a faith filled insight into Biblical love and the basis that it’s more than a feeling; it’s a choice. And in the end, Trent first chooses to love and then falls in love. Calling in the “cavalry” (aka “the boys,” aka Griffith, Ryland, Colin, and Anthony) who proceed give Trent an education was brilliant, and I love how we get to view the more intimate side of the relationship between these five men.

Can I also just say that Kristi is the master of awkward conversations? There are a few chapters that happen after a delayed wedding night between two inexperienced people. While most authors avoid the, ahem, more physical side of marriage, Kristi plunges right in in a manner that is realistic while being tactful and hilarious at the same time. Of course, it’s probably only hilarious because it’s happening to Trent and not me. That said, I know some folks ask about appropriate ages for reading a novel, and while it’s handled superbly and leads to some great conversations about what love is and isn’t, I’d suggest that parents make sure they’ve addressed this topic with their kid before reading this book and then follow up afterwards as well. That said, there are fantastic lessons to be had from Trent and Adelaide’s story.

I received this copy as a courtesy from Bethany House in exchange for an honest opinion. All the opinions above are mine alone. But, seriously, the book is awesome, so go read it.

An Uncommon Courtship (Hawthorne House, #3)        Amazon       Christian Book

hunter_headshotKristi Ann Hunter graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in Computer Science but always knew she wanted to write. In addition to several pre-published contests, Kristi is a Rita award winner and has also been a finalist in the INSPYs, Christys, and GRW Maggie Award of Excellence. She lives with her husband and three children in Georgia.

You can connect with Kristi Ann Hunter at her website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Top 10 Tuesday

I had a blogger friend recommend to join the bandwagon for #toptentuesday Since she’s a wonderful blogger, I decided this was a great piece of advice. So here are my top ten authors. These are authors whose books I will always read because I haven’t been disappointed yet. A.K.A. authors who when a new book comes out, my hubs knows that I will likely ignore him until said book is finished. He’s gracefully (mostly) okay with that. In no particular order:

  1. Jen Turano
  2. Karen Witemeyer
  3. Becky Wade
  4. Dani Pettrey
  5. Mary Connealy
  6. Kristi Ann Hunter
  7. Valerie Comer
  8. Roseanna White
  9. Kimberly Rae Jordan
  10. Melissa Tagg

And here’s why I love them. Enjoy!

Jen Turano

Jen is my go to for a cheering up.Her quirky writing style brings a realism to her characters that also make me laugh hysterically at the situations they find themselves in. I feel like I could be friends with all of her main characters. Plus Jen is an awesome author who loves interacting with her fans. And now, she has something to offer the historical and contemporary lovers alike; a dream finally fulfilled with Finding Margo.

Karen Witemeyer

See my very first book review posted, which was for Stealing the PreacherKaren was the first author who convinced me that westerns were worth my time, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I can also count on Karen to stay on the lighter side, though she balances her stories with drama and smiles alike. She’s in the midst of her first series, “Ladies of Harper’s Station.” I’m so excited that we get to visit with the citizens in this town for awhile.

Becky Wade

How can you not love the Porter family? I might have cried when the last book was over. I hope someday we get an update on how they are all doing.  She’s also awesome in that she listened to her readers and independently came out with number 3.5 so we could see one of the beloved minor characters get her happily ever after. I already have the first book of her new series on pre-order, True To You.

Dani Pettrey

I am required to be a Dani Pettrey fan because she is a local girl. Dani was the one to convince me that I can love suspense, and I got the hubs hooked on her stories too! Enough romance for me, enough action for him. I love that we both can enjoy them. Plus, her current series is set in my hometown, Baltimore. Still Life comes out on the 31st, and the Good household is on pins and needles waiting to see what happens next.

Mary Connealy

Mary Connealy is another author who I can count on for a fun time. Her westerns bring a fresh breeze, though some tend more toward the drama spectrum and some toward the comedy spectrum. I’ll never forget the “husband tree.” Find out more about that in Montana Marriages Trilogy.

Kristi Ann Hunter

Kristi is another author that you can’t help but love. Her regency series is my favorite set in the period and she’s well surpassed expectations for #teamtrent in her latest, An Uncommon Courtship. Plus, she has agreed to be my first author interview!!! Stayed tuned. I will probably also cry at the end of Griffith’s book when our time with the Hawthorne family ends. If I had to live during the regency time period, I would definitely choose to be part of this family.

Valerie Comer

Valerie is an independent author, which I highly admire. It’s a lot of work and you know her stories have to be beyond good to be a success in the world full of publishing houses. I love getting immersed in her fresh food world which shares some characters across a couple series. Valerie’s audiobooks have kept me company on many long trips home to see family and back. I so wish I could live at Green Acres Farm.

Roseanna White

Roseanna is not just a good novelist, but also a blogger to follow. Her research is a integral part of her stories bringing a blend of interesting periods of time and a fictional story to her readers. She crosses several time periods depending on the series and is working on a new one set at the beginning of WWI. As someone who works with history on a regular basis, I admire her diligence in using real world facts and weaving them into something new. If you don’t follow Roseanna’s weekly word blogs, you should. I asked her a couple weeks ago if she had ever researched “under the weather,” and guess what? She wrote a post just to answer it. How cool!

Kimberly Rae Jordan

Kimberly’s books suck me in and don’t let go. In addition, they make me want to move to Minnesota. I love getting immersed in an author’s world and Kimberly’s multiple series share some characters, allowing you to delve into their stories and invest in their lives while creating stand alone narratives. I also like how her books feature your not-s0-typical looking heroes/heroines; these are real people and not New York models. Her readers waited a long time for the conclusion of the Black Thorpe series, A Sense of Security, and I definitely went into ignore the world mode when it came out.

Melissa Tagg

You know how at the end of a good Hallmark movie, you just get that sigh? I can always count on Melissa’s stories to end just like that. The Walker family is far from perfect, but you can’t help but love them through and through. I wish I could talk to papa Walker when I just need some advice. While all stand alone stories, I recommend that you start with the prequel to fully get to know this family.

Mom’s Mystery Monday

momThere are those who say their mom is the best. Well, I disagree because my mom is the best. Both she and dad instilled into me a love a reading. I remember TEDIOUS hours when my (then perceived mean) mom would make me study the alphabet. I quickly reformed and fell in love with a set of first reader books that I read well past the age I was beyond them. Then, my mom introduced me to Jane Austen. Since then, we’ve both developed our favorite genres, talk books often, and frequently exchange books between us to read.


But, our tastes do differ. Mom loves cozy mysteries, while I tend toward anything romance. To that end, my awesome mom has agreed to occasionally review a cozy mystery for us! How exciting. For her first review, mom brings you Murder in the Mystery Suite by Ellery Adams.

Tucked away in the rolling hills of rural western Virginia is the storybook resort of Storyton
Hall, catering to book lovers who want to get away from it all. To increase her number of bookings, resort manager Jane Steward has decided to host a Murder and Mayhem week so that fans of the mystery genre can gather together for some role-playing and fantasy crime solving.

But when the winner of the scavenger hunt, Felix Hampden, is found dead in the Mystery Suite, and the valuable book he won as his prize is missing, Jane realizes one of her guests is an actual murderer. Amid a resort full of fake detectives, Jane is bound and determined to find a real-life killer. There’s no room for error as Jane tries to unlock this mystery before another vacancy opens up…

And here’s mom:

I enjoy many types of reading but mindless entertainment is my favorite and cozy mysteries are at the top of the list.  Something that is entertaining (after all it must hold ones interest), not too gory (I know people are dying but I don’t need two pages of spurting blood and guts), not too sexy (I’m single and that just gets me frustrated!) and not too suspense filled (I do want to sleep at night) is just up my alley.
murder-in-the-mystery-suiteThis past Christmas Katherine, my youngest, bought me “Murder in the Paperback Parlor” and “Murder in the Secret Garden”.  A new series by Ellery Adams which she terms “A Book Retreat Mystery” [Kat here- I read lots of book backs and picked something I thought she’d like. I had no clue there was a series order].  After looking at the opening pages I realized these were the second and third of the series so immediately I got on the computer and ordered the first in the series “Murder in the Mystery Suite.”

On the welcome page I loved that Ellery listed her cast of characters.  An interesting mix of staff from Storyton Hall and the varying merchants of Storyton Village, Virginia.  Years ago the Steward family dismantled their ancestral home in England and brought it to this quaint and quiet valley to reassemble brick by brick.

Now it resides on a lovely, though well-worn, estate as a retreat for book lovers.  Jane Steward has returned home after her husband’s death to help with the family business and manage the resort.  To bring in extra income she puts together a theme event, the Murder and Mayhem Week.  Little did she know that it would turn into just that!

While the guests think the police and patrons in handcuffs are just part of the show, Jane knows there is a murder in the building.  Is it one of the guests dressed up as a favorite sleuth or one of her trusted staff?

“Murder in the Mystery Suite” is an easy read with short chapters that makes it perfect for a few chapters with a cup of tea in the evening or one during your break at work.  As with other cozy mysteries it is a perfect fit in the purse size.  The price online was less than ordering the eBook version and I do love to hold pages of paper in my hand.

I would give it three out of five stars for being a pleasant story, but not extremely riveting.

Well I must be off.  Time to pick up the second book in the Book Retreat Mystery series!

Thanks, mom!

Amazon               Goodreads

Ellery Adams is the “New York Times “bestselling author of the Books by the Bay Mysteries and the Charmed Pie Shoppe Mysteries. Ms. Adams has held many jobs, including caterer, retail clerk, car salesperson, teacher, tutor, and tech writer, all while penning poems, children’s books, and novels.


Stealing the Preacher

I spent way to much time thinking (and way too little time sleeping) about which book should be the first to be reviewed on the blog. Kind of a big decisions, right? I can never do my first post over. While I’ve always been an avid reader, I have not always been an avid reader of Christian Fiction. A few years ago, we were in the middle of being foster parents to two high emotional needs kids and, as many mom do, I had lost a bit of myself by pouring everything into them. Then, my stupendous mom gave me a Nook and I decided I was going to do something for me: read. Having gotten burned by some random stories I wish I could unsee (you know the kind I mean!) I did a little research before buying my first book. Diligently I read reviews and researched author website to find a book I thought I’d enjoy and that wouldn’t veer into inappropriate territory.

Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer was that book. And little did I know that finishing that story would launch me into a world of avid readers who shared similar beliefs and awesome writers who cared and interacted with their readers/bloggers, lifting them up in faith while giving us great entertainment.

I didn’t realize until after I had finished Stealing The Preacher that it was not the first in the series, but that did not diminish the storyline at all. I was drawn from the very first page and I think I finished in within a couple of days. It was the perfect combination of action, comedy, and faith which allowed me to escape life for a little while and simply sit and enjoy something. Karen Witemeyer, I will be forever grateful for you for that.

stealing-the-preacherOn his way to interview for a position at a church in the Piney Woods of Texas, Crockett Archer can scarcely believe it when he’s forced off the train by a retired outlaw and presented to the man’s daughter as the minister she requested for her birthday. Worried this unfortunate detour will ruin his chances of finally serving a congregation of his own, Crockett is determined to escape. But when he finally gets away, he’s haunted by the memory of the young woman he left behind–a woman whose dreams now hinge on him.

For months, Joanna Robbins prayed for a preacher. A man to breathe life back into the abandoned church at the heart of her community. A man to assist her in fulfilling a promise to her dying mother. A man to help her discover answers to the questions that have been on her heart for so long. But just when it seems God has answered her prayers, it turns out the person is there against his will and has dreams of his own calling him elsewhere. Is there any way she can convince Crockett to stay in her little backwoods community? And does the attraction between them have any chance of blossoming when Joanna’s outlaw father is dead set against his daughter courting a preacher?

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