Today’s Top Ten is Favorite Couples in books, which, to me, seems an impossible task. In order to narrow it down, I picked out titles with only two words, that I own (i.e. no library books or borrowed from friends), and without repeating authors (because a few of these I’d pick the whole series, and that’s more than ten).
In no particular order:
Finders Keepers – Sarah Monzon
The Lace Maker – Laura Frantz
Canteen dreams -Cara Putman
Still life – Dani Pettrey
The Proposal – Becky Wade
Leaving Oxford – Janet Ferguson
Mojave Rescue – Tanya Stowe
Operation Mistletoe – Elizabeth Maddrey
Enchanting Nicholette – Dawn Crandall
Moving Target – Lynette Eason
What your your top ten? Don’t forget to join in on the fun on the other blogs.
I want to know – who has ever cleaned out their TBR pile all the way to the bottom? Not me! And, it’s steadily growing larger as we kick off 2019. Goodreads has a running list of “Most Anticipated Inspirational Novels of 2019,” which currently has 82 entries. I encourage you to browse through the list and add some new titles to your pile.
Here are my most anticipated inspirational reads. I know that more will be added as some authors haven’t listed their to be published for this year. What are your most anticipated reads?
P.S. Reviewing my post it occurred to me that all but two of these (Ever After and Wooing Cadie) are by Bethany House. I’ve come to expect great stories from them, but there are other great publishing houses and indie authors too. I’d like to know what others you love.
Today I’m exciting to be bringing you a blog post found only at Kat’s Corner Books! Karen Witemeyer, Kristi Ann Hunter, Becky Wade, and Sarah Loudin Thomas join me to talk about a special gift that they have received. In The Christmas Heirloom, four women are gifted a Luckenbooth Broach and find love at Christmas. Join me in sharing the authors’ stories.
Heirlooms can be anything that is handed down from one generation to another, but what makes them special is not the item itself, but the memories and emotions that item evokes. I have an antique washstand in my bedroom that once belonged to my grandmother on my father’s side and a small landscape painting that my grandma on my mother’s side painted. Outsiders would not see anything of particular value in these items, but they mean a great deal to me because they connect me to people I loved from generations past. One of my favorite heirlooms, however, is a recipe for zucchini bread written in my dad’s handwriting. I lost my dad when I was only 16, so this is a prized possession. Not only is the recipe delicious, but seeing my dad’s handwriting brings back a flood of happy memories every time I take it out.
As for gifts I’ve received, the ones that mean the most are the ones that have heirloom potential. They tie into specific memories and emotions. A couple years ago, my husband gave me two such treasures. The first was a blanket made with a photo of my kids. My first child was leaving for college and the empty nest had begun. This was a way for me to snuggle with my kids even when they were gone. Love it! The other gift was a set of throw pillows made from pictures we had taken on a trip to The Netherlands. My Dutch publisher had brought me out for a book tour, and they allowed Wes to tag along. It was one of the best trips we have ever taken. We met so many wonderful people and saw so many amazing things. These pillows sit on my couch all throughout the year, and every time I see them, I remember that trip and smile.
I’m a cross-stitcher, so this time of year, the house fills with handmade items like stockings, ornaments, and wall hangings. I’d like to think that some of these will become heirlooms as my children start their own families and take a few touches of Christmases past to start their own traditions, but even if they don’t, they will still hold memories and joy for me every time I look at them.
Kristi Ann Hunter
I didn’t often get the trendy toy of the year growing up. I never owned a Cabbage Patch Doll or a Furby, but when I was three I did get a Care Bear. TenderHeart to be exact. I loved that bear. I slept with it every night, carried it around the house, he was my constant companion. I called him Tendy. Over the years Tendy soaked up a lot of tears, got a lot of washings, and got hugged until he was pretty much smashed flat. Eventually, when I was in college, I had to admit that Tendy was getting a little too worn to be my constant companion. My father, who’d gotten me Tendy to begin with, went on a hunt for a replacement. At the time he was traveling around the world for work. Everywhere he went, he visited toy stores looking for the softest, cuddliest replacement for my beloved Tendy. I was twenty when I received Scruffy, a gray dog with floppy arms and legs and fluffy fur. Scruffy has since been replaced by my husband, but he and Tendy still sit together in a place of honor in my bedroom.
Sarah Loudin Thomas
Being sentimental is my super power. My most prized possessions are the bits and pieces that used to belong to someone who matters to me. There’s the Brown Betty teapot that belonged to my neighbor Betty. The stitched wall hanging Aunt Bess made. The wooden butter mold Uncle Willis made for Mom. Dad’s shaving mug. Mom knows this about me (maybe instilled it in me?). Which means she knew exactly what she was doing the year she gave me my favorite book EVER. It’s the copy of Heidi that her own aunt gave her as a girl. Mom must have read it to me a hundred times. There, inside the front cover, it says “To Nancy Cox, Christmas 1954.” And then she passed it on to me one Christmas. And some Christmas down the road I plan to pass it along to my niece–mom’s granddaughter. And hopefully, there will be a great-granddaughter to appreciate it one day–say in 2054? While the Luckenbooth in The Christmas Heirloom was a valuable piece of jewelry, what made it such a prized possession wasn’t it’s dollar value, but rather it’s link to family. My character, Fleeta, lost her mother when she was very young. Having that connection to her mother restored in a way was what gave the pin value in Fleeta’s eyes. It’s much the same with my copy of Heidi. It’s not a book–it’s something my great aunt picked out and wrapped for my mother. It’s the memory of curling into my mother’s side while she read aloud. It’s a connection to people I want with me always. I’m so looking forward to sharing those connections on down the line . . .
My great grandmother enjoyed a long and faith-filled life of laughter. She had a wonderful marriage, numerous children, and even more numerous grand children and great grandchildren. When she passed away, my grandmother, her oldest child, inherited her gold wedding band. Since my grandmother had two sons and no daughters, she chose to entrust her mother’s ring to her oldest granddaughter — me. She gave it to me when I was still a teenager, long before I was in the market for marriage. But, even then, I recognized the pricelessness of that ring. I, like the characters in The Christmas Heirloom, had received a piece of jewelry that had been treasured and worn by my ancestors. What a gift! Years later, when marriage came my way, I had my great grandparents’ initials and wedding date inscribed inside the ring. To this day, I wear it as my wedding band. I hope to pass it down to my own daughter one day.
Thanks you so much ladies for sharing your precious gifts and memories with us. To celebrate, I’m giving a gift of a Kindle ebook of The Christmas Heirloom. For the chance to win, enter via rafflecopter below. Please refer to my Policies. The giveaway will close at midnight of 12/10/18.
Another week of top ten, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. The theme is villains, and since I’m starting this point at 10:30 pm the night before, I’m going to focus on villains you can find IN PRINT on my shelf right now. These are 10 villains that stood out to me- they may not be the worst or even the only villain in a story. These aren’t all Christian Fiction either (I’ll note specifics) and I tried to pull a few different ones from the normal straight clean Christian romance.
Benson Gage – Whispers in the Reading Room by Shelley Gray (On edge of CF)
Senator Holt – Falling For You by Becky Wade
Perera – Cold Shot by Dani Pettrey
Malcolm Kincaid – The Reluctant Duchess by Roseanna M. White
Thirst of Steel by Ronie Kendig
-Cameron/Joanna – Always Watching by Lynette Eason
Wolfsbane by Ronie Kendig
Duke – Aunt Dimnity and the Duke by Nancy Atherton (not CF)
Narx – The Cat Who Could Read Backwards by Lilian Jackson (not CF)
Alejandro – Lone Star Christmas Rescue by Margaret Daley
Falling for You (A Bradford Sisters Romance #2) By Becky Wade
Inspirational Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 368 pages
May 1st 2018 by Bethany House Publishers
Famously beautiful model Willow Bradford is taking a temporary break from her hectic schedule to work as the innkeeper at her family’s small-town bed-and-breakfast. She was enjoying the peace of her hometown, Merryweather, Washington, right up until she came face-to-face with Corbin Stewart, the man she loves to hate. A thoughtful rule-follower by nature, Willow threw caution to the wind four years ago when she entrusted her heart to Corbin–and suffered the consequences when it all fell apart.
Former NFL quarterback Corbin is forceful, charming, and accustomed to getting what he wants . . . except where Willow Bradford is concerned. Unable to forget her, he’s never stopped regretting what happened between them. When their paths unexpectedly cross again, he’s determined to make her give him a second chance.
When a decades-old missing persons case finds Corbin and Willow working together, they’re forced to confront their past and who they’ve become–and whether they can risk falling for one another all over again.
As much as I related to Nora in True To You with her nerdy bookish self and the adoption themes (as you can tell from Tuesday’s post), in a lot of ways I relate more to Willow. I will never be model material and only consider myself beautiful on good days, but Willow struggles with two big things that I have as well: shame from a past relationship, and growing up, the feeling that I had to be the perfect child.
These two themes are threaded throughout Willow motivations and decisions her whole life. She struggles to take risks and have fun, but has a kind compassionate heart. She spends a lot of time arguing with herself and talking herself out of her feelings. Girl, I so get that. At one point Becky puts into words what Willow feels and it’s perfect. Willow goes through all the people in her life who never gave her a reason to doubt their love then goes on to say. “God had never given her a reason to doubt His love. Even so, her internal drive to be good…had never relented.”
Corbin is determined to draw her out. Since I have my own real life Corbin to draw me out of my safe shell, I understand Willow’s love/hate relationship with that aspect. We want to be safe, but also want to venture out…safely. These men God puts in our lives do that; I can’t hide under my rock too long. My favorite quote is from Corbin’s internal processing, “He needed her to love him And so he was going to make sure that she did.” Way to take the initiative, Corbin! But, he also had to learn how to be humble and surrender their future to God. A humbled man is a mighty thing to behold.
And now we get a sneak peak at Britt beginning to soften and Zander being brave enough to step past his self-protective boundaries and get out there. I can’t wait for their story!
I received a complementary copy of this story for review on this tour. I was not required to post a positive review and all opinions are my own!
Other Books in the Series
About the Author
Becky’s a California native who attended Baylor University, met and married a Texan, and settled in Dallas. She published historical romances for the general market before putting her career on hold for several years to care for her three children. When God called her back to writing, Becky knew He meant for her to turn her attention to Christian fiction. She loves writing funny, modern, and inspirational contemporary romance! She’s the Christy Award and Carol Award winning author of My Stubborn Heart, the Porter Family series, and the Bradford Sisters Romance series.
Christian Fiction Reader’s Retreat. Those words peaked my interest last year as I started seeing some favorite bloggers begin to talk about the inaugural event. It sounded a bit like heaven hanging out with bookish friends and meeting authors. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t swing it last year. So, when they announced that this year’s event was going to be hosted in Cincinnati, my (now former) hometown, I jumped at the chance. Timing ended up working out perfectly so I could stay with my mom and then hang around a couple extra days to hang with my best friend an her new baby. Here’s a recap of the fun, and at the end, a giveaway!
The first thing that I was super excited to meet Carrie from Reading Is My Super Power. Carrie has answered so many blogger questions as I’ve gotten started and been super sweet about it all. I also got to meet Annie, organizer extraordinaire, from Just Commonly.
Carrie and I pre-CFRR and post CFRR.
Carrie (Reading is my Super Power) and I pre-CFRR and post CFRR.
The day was filled speakers and great panel discussions such as spirituality themes and how to/should they/to what extent be woven into Christian Fiction. We heard some great opinions from authors about “organic” faith where their authors live it, but don’t necessarily preach at others and how these themes impact readers. Cynthia Ruchti open with a great talk about why chose Christian Fiction. I wish I had recorded it so I could listen again.
Kristi Ann Hunter
Susan May Warren
I got to meet sooooo many awesome authors. Here are some I was able to snap photos with! Carrie and Annie kept a secret from us all. Friday night, after after a long day of packing bags, Carrie said she wanted me to meet someone. Lo, and behold, I walk around the corner and there’s JEN TURANO. And when I started to introduce myself, she knew who I was. FANGIRL MOMENT. I tried valiantly to real it in and act normal, but not sure how successful I was. On Saturday, I was privileged to eat lunch with her, Shelly Shepard Gray, and a new to me author, Mollie Campbell. It was awesome to be able get to know these authors more along with a few other attendees.
After end of the retreat Saturday, Kristi Ann Hunter grabbed some of her lead team and some others and we all went to LaRosa’s and then UDF for ice cream. I learned that Kristi was staying at a friend’s that was only about 15 minutes from where I grew up and she had lived in the area for awhile! It’s a small world. I also got to meet some other great bloggers and readers and author Deb Marvin!
There were also many giveaways and games. It was a seriously awesome day. I hope I can see you there next year!
One of the books in our swag bag is Ronnie Kendig’s newest A Crown of Souls. Even the title is intriguing. And….you could win a copy! I will announce the winner next week on Tuesday. As always, please read my terms and conditions for giveaways and it’s open to US residents only. Click on the link here to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway.
I tried to get a nice photo of the book, but Onxy was not cooperating.
Do opposites really attract? John and Nora might just be the perfect match. Find out in True to You, book one in Becky Wade’s new series! Genealogist and historical village owner Nora Bradford has decided that burying her nose in her work and her books is far safer than romance in the here and now. Former Navy SEAL and Medal of Honor recipient John Lawson is a modern-day man, usually 100 percent focused on the present. But when he’s diagnosed with an inherited condition, he’s forced to dig into the secrets of his past and his adoption as an infant, enlisting Nora to help him uncover the identity of his birth mother. Finding the answers they’re seeking will test the limits of their identity, their faith, and their devotion to one another.
I have long been a Becky Wade fan. That said, long time readers will notice that this is a very different style from our beloved Porter series. But, what is consistent is Becky’s trademark romance and solid story line. What is different in this story is how long the main characters fight their attraction. While sometimes this can be frustrating in a story, Becky does a great job of progressing the romance and tension, as well as giving us a realistic perspective on two people falling in love but trying not to; they have real struggles, real problems, real feelings. I loved this aspect of the book as so often the feelings of attraction that we struggle with in real life relationships is glossed over in Christian romance. I wish I could visit Mayfair, but since it’s unfortunately make believe, I’ll have to settle with adding all of Washington to my travel list.
As a lover of history, frequent researcher, and adoption advocate, this story line contains many elements that I thoroughly enjoyed. I think many readers will be able to relate to John’s search for his birth parents or Nora’s introverted book loving, generous nature. There’s also a fun quiz that Bethany House has put together to see which Becky Wade heroine you are most like. I got Willow; I’ll take the supermodel!
I can’t wait to read Willow’s and Britt’s story.
I received a copy of True to You from Litfuse for promotional purposes. All opinions expressed are purely my own.
Celebrate the launch of Becky Wade’s new series by entering to win a fabulous prize pack and $100 cash card from Litfuse!
One grand prize winner will receive:
A copy of True to You
A $100 Visa cash card
A prize pack hand-picked by Becky
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on May 30. The winner will be announced May 31 on the Litfuse blog.