An Inconvenient Beauty

The Hawthorne House series by Kristi Ann Hunter has come to a close. I have long anticipated Griffith’s story and am happy that all the rest of you are finally jumping on the Griffith is awesome bandwagon. Griffith and I share the perpetual desire for control, and I hope, like Griffith, that I can learn to “let go and let God.”

An Inconvienent BeautyGriffith, Duke of Riverton, likes order, logic, and control, so he naturally applies this rational approach to his search for a bride. While he’s certain Miss Frederica St. Claire is the perfect wife for him, she is strangely elusive, and he can’t seem to stop running into her stunningly beautiful cousin, Miss Isabella Breckenridge.

Isabella should be enjoying her society debut, but with her family in difficult circumstances, she has no choice but to agree to a bargain that puts her at odds with all her romantic hopes–as well as her conscience. And the more she comes to know Griffith, the more she regrets the unpleasant obligation that prevents her from any dream of a future with him.

As all Griffith’s and Isabella’s long-held expectations are shaken to the core, can they set aside their pride and fear long enough to claim a happily-ever-after?

My Review

My expectations for An Inconvenient Beauty were high and Kristi did not disappoint. It was extremely entertaining watching Griffith, master of control, lose control, particularly a scene where he couldn’t control his words and they all came tumbling out (not saying any more though, I don’t want to spoil it). Isabella is exactly the heroine he didn’t know he needed.

A theme of this book that was unique in Christian Fiction (especially without diving into A LOT of drama) is that life is not so black and white. We often face decisions about which direction we need to go without much time to consider our path, and sometimes when we feel, for whatever reason, that God is not there for us. That idea exists more in our heart/mind than it does in reality, but in our humanness and the seemingly bleak choice in front of us, it is easy to lose perspective about how God is working in our lives and what path we are to take. Both Griffith and Isabella figure out that the path they thought was theirs to take, was indeed not the one God was calling them too. They had to learn how to turn back to Him, how to work through the guilt of not listening in the first place, and how to trust in His plan, even when they have no idea how it’ll work out.

While Griffith is eternally swoony, Kristi weaves a deeper meaning into his gradual loss of control and growing trust in God’s plans over his, resulting in a story that is light while providing a depth of story. I really encourage you to pick this one up for your personal library. While it is a final in a series (and you should really get the others, as well) you can also read it as stand alone.

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Author

hunter_headshotKristi Ann Hunter graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in Computer Science but always knew she wanted to write. Kristi is an RWA Golden Heart contest winner, an ACFW Genesis contest winner, and a Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Award for Excellence winner. She lives with her husband and three children in Georgia. Find her online at www.kristiannhunter.com.

Top 10 Summer Books

It’s technically fall, though the weather here disputes that fact. So, that means it’s time for the summer round up! This is for books read July-August-September. (There were so many in June, I just couldn’t include it, and I’m resisting a great book I just finished today, because it’s already October!) I surprised myself when I started narrowing down the options and saw how many contempories there are; I normally consume mostly historical fiction, but it appears to have been a summer of contemporaies!

Enjoy!

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CFRR Recap – Giveaway

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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.

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.

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.

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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.

A Name Unknown

UntitledA name unknown quoteLadies (and gentleman, if you’re out there) I am privileged to finally be able to post about Roseanna White’s newest, A Name Unknown. Some of you might remember when I geeked out a bit with the cover reveal a couple months ago. I helped with a very small tibit of research (which we both love and I do a good bit of in my day job) and was super excited to see if any of it got incorporated into the book. A tiny bit did as it had to do with some of the questions of citizenship and how to prove it 1914. Needless to say, it is my one claim to fame in life. I am very privileged to have been able to help in any way. One day, hopefully, I’ll be able to meet Roseanna in person as we only live a couple hours from each other. Until then, I shall content myself with gobbling up any new books.

The Story

A Name UnknownRosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they concentrate on stealing high-value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. But when Rosemary must determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany, she is in for the challenge of a lifetime. How does one steal a family’s history, their very name?

Peter Holstein, given his family’s German blood, writes his popular series of adventure novels under a pen name. With European politics boiling and his own neighbors suspicious of him, Peter debates whether it might be best to change his name for good. When Rosemary shows up at his door pretending to be a historian and offering to help him trace his family history, his question might be answered. 

But as the two work together and Rosemary sees his gracious reaction to his neighbors’ scornful attacks, she wonders if her assignment is going down the wrong path. Is it too late to help him prove that he’s more than his name?

My Review

Would it be cheating to just say “Read it, it’s awesome?” Yes? Ok, then. Let me start by saying I recieved a copy of this book from the publisher and am not required to write a positive review, but I am going to anyway because as Mikey always said “I really like!” Roseanna blends together two different world, classes, viewpoints, faith outlooks, etc. beautifully in a story that teaches both main characters that we’re never to old or young to learn and there is almost always a compromise if we allow ourselves an open mind and heart.

I could not put it down and was constantly drawn to the “what comes next?” That said, it broaches on war, and while it does get into some of those elements, it is not overwhelming to the story. You can feel the constant tension and the uncertain future, and I think just a little taste of what life would have felt like full time during that time period. I”m eager to see where Roseanna takes the family.

About the Author

Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna’s fiction ranges from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her new British series. She lives with her family in West Virginia. Learn more at www.roseannamwhite.com.

 

Heart on the Line

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Made by @melissag823.

defaultToday I am reviewing a super fun book! Karen Witemeyer is one of my favorite authors for good reason and her newest release, Heart on the Line, reinforces that notion. One of my favorite things about this book is it’s geekiness. Not even sure if that’s a word (I’m sure a grammar geek will let me know). So many heroes and heroine seem to be all of the ideals manhood/womanhood wrapped up into one. You know, ruggedly hansom and the perfect mix between brooding and charming, or slender, but with curves in all the right places? Not for the focus of this story. Instead, they are both telegraph operators! And, they LOVE IT (Fun link of Karen’s about “online” dating). It makes me think that if they were visiting my house, they’d hop right into a game of Settlers of Catan with the the hubs and I.

hearonthelineGrace Mallory is tired of running, of hiding. But when an old friend sends an after-hours telegraph transmission warning Grace that the man who has hunted her for nearly a year has discovered her location, she fears she has no choice. She can’t let the villain she believes responsible for her father’s death release his wrath in Harper’s Station, the town that has sheltered her and blessed her with the dearest friends she’s ever known.

Amos Bledsoe prefers bicycles to horses and private conversations over the telegraph wire to social gatherings with young ladies who see him as nothing more than an oddity. His telegraph companion, the mysterious Miss G, listens eagerly to his ramblings every night and delights him with tales all her own. For months, their friendship–dare he believe, courtship?–has fed his hope that he has finally found the woman God intended for him. Yet when he takes the next step to meet her in person, he discovers her life is in peril, and Amos must decide if he can shed the cocoon of his quiet nature to become the hero Grace requires.

My Review

There are so many good things about this book, I’m not sure were to start or that you’ll read long enough for me to list them. As I mentioned above, this book was very refreshing with it’s less than “ideal” hero in Amos Bledsoe with his glasses, bike riding, and self-described unmanly physique. But what Amos doesn’t have in appearance he makes up for in heart, and that ladies, is what we ultimately fall in love with. My husband is much closer to Amos then all the ruggedly handsome heroes I read about and I think that makes Amos all the more attractive to me; men with patient constant hearts. Amos proves himself worthy of Grace’s trust by being patient and sticking around no matter what.

My heart hurts for Grace and all she’s experienced. We’ve glimpsed Grace in two previous Harper’s Station stories and I knew her back story couldn’t be a pleasant one. She is slow to trust, but through Amos’ steadiness and God’s quiet prodding, Grace learns the true meaning of her name.

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Image by @redheadzee.

What’s not mentioned in the descriptions is the sub-story that happens throughout the book with Helen, which I found delightful. Helen struggles with very real fear, an emotion that I frequently battle that is sometimes overwhelming. I am super proud of this girl and she inspires me to also loose the chains fear holds over my life.

The geeky side of me wants to learn Morse Code so I can tell if all of the dashes and dots are correct, but I trust that Karen has done her homework. I also may want to sew up a pair of bicycle bloomers.

(…and…as regulations require… I have received a copy of this book from the Publisher for promotional purposes. All opinions are truthfully my own!)

There are many great quotes in this book, hence all of the photos included in this post, but I’ll close out with my favorite. I think it’s self explanatory.

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Image by Brandy!

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A Song Unheard Cover Reveal

A Name UnknownTuesday has come a day late this week! What?! You think I’m crazy? I’m not. Saved this week’s post for today as we have a special announcement. Roseanna White is revealing her newest cover for the second book in the Shadows Over England series! The first book, A Name Unknown, comes out in July. Early on I helped Roseanna out with a small research task and I am totally geeky over that fact. I don’t know if any of it was helpful or made it in the final cut, but the sheer fact that I could help might have put a little swagger in my step. I am super excited to be part of the street team, so you bet you’ll be hearing more. Roseanna is fantastic about connecting with her readers, so make sure to subscribe to her awesome blog/newsletter and find her on Facebook. Without further ado…

A Song Unheard

Willa Forsythe is both a violin prodigy and top-notch thief, which makes her the perfect choice for a crucial task at the outset of World War I—to steal a cypher from a famous violinist currently in Wales.

Lukas De Wilde has enjoyed the life of fame he’s won—until now, when being recognized nearly gets him killed. Everyone wants the key to his father’s work as a cryptologist. And Lukas fears that his mother and sister, who have vanished in the wake of the German invasion of Belgium, will pay the price. The only light he finds is meeting the intriguing Willa Forsythe.

But danger presses in from every side, and Willa knows what Lukas doesn’t—that she must betray him and find that cypher, or her own family will pay the price as surely as his has.

The Cover

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Love it! The red dress is sure to pop out on shelves and I like having an idea of a face to put with a name. It also fits so well with the first book’s cover, don’t you think?

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Be sure to add both of these on Goodreads and your pre-order!

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