Top Ten Tuesday – Favorite Book Blogs/Bookish Websites

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I’m all in for this top ten, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.¬†At first I thought, “How am supposed to pick ONLY 10.” But, then as I really started thinking through it for my favorites, the ones I check frequently, the list shrunk. Secretly, I’m sitting here hoping I’ll show up on someone else’s list ūüôā In no particular order:

Reading Is My Super Power and Just Commonly

I’m putting Carrie and Annie on the same line because they should be on everyone’s list as go-to blogs for new reads. If you haven’t met them yet, they’re awesome and make sure to sign up for #2 so you can meet them…

Christian Fiction Readers Retreat

If you haven’t been yet, you should put it on your schedule and go register! It’s an amazing event, founded by Annie, Carrie, and Bonnie (something about the -ie). The CFRR blog is filled with fantastic interviews from several authors who have visited CFRR. Registration is almost full, so hope on the train soon!

Popular Books Sites

…like Amazon, Goodreads, etc. You all know them. I thought about not including them at all, but they’re important for readers to be able to see reviews for books they’re considering and are even more critical for authors to get new readers.

Novelly Yours

…because who doesn’t want a delicious smelling book boyfriend?

Etsy

Because you can find about any bookish item you want on Etsy. Quote art? Check! Pillow with clever bookish puns? Check! Cross stitch, pendants, mugs? Check, Check, Check!

Pinterest

Kind of like Etsy in that you can find photos of anything bookish. I’ve entertained myself during many random waiting periods by reading book memes.

Kristi Ann Hunter’s Instagram

Entertaining. Also her Good Little Reader’s Group on Facebook. Kristi is one of the most active authors I follow on FB, which as a reader is cool and makes me feel like we’re friends.

Karen Witemeyer’s Reader Group

Also on Facebook. Karen is another author who does an fantastic job interacting with her readers in the reader group, especially since she’s newer to the FB group world.

Celebrate Lit Publicity Group

As a blogger, part of the fun is getting to read books and help authors promote them Celebrate Lit is who I most often tour with, finding new authors and more good books than I would on my own.

For The Love of Christian Fiction

Ok, technically, I stalk Alysha’s Instragram feed. Mostly because I’m jealous in awe of her bookstagrams and can only hope one day I’ll be half as good.

 

Hope you found a few new sites to check out!

A Defense of Honor

Happy Tuesday, all! I don’t know about ya’ll, but it hasn’t gotten crazy hot here in Baltimore. Perfect reason to curl up with a read while sequestering myself in my bedroom- the only room in the house with air conditioning.

A defense of honor

When Katherine “Kit” FitzGilbert turned her back on London society more than a decade ago, she determined never to set foot in a ballroom again. But when business takes her to London and she’s forced to run for her life, she stumbles upon not only a glamorous ballroom but also Graham, Lord Wharton. What should have been a chance encounter becomes much more as Graham embarks on a search for his friend’s missing sister and is convinced Kit knows more about the girl than she’s telling.

After meeting Graham, Kit finds herself wishing things could have been different for the first time in her life, but what she wants can’t matter. Long ago, she dedicated herself to helping women escape the same scorn that drove her from London and raising the innocent children caught in the crossfire. And as much as she desperately wishes to tell Graham everything, revealing the truth isn’t worth putting him and everyone she loves in danger.

My Review

Kristi approaches some hard topics in this story that I think are great that a Christian Fiction author is getting into. I also appreciate how none of the characters and black and white – not all good, not all bad. Kit struggles with the motivations and decisions she felt forced into to create a stable environment for the women and children she strove to help. Given the same situation, I don’t know what decision I would’ve made. It brings to the forefront the question of “do two wrongs make a right?” And if it doesn’t, how do you survive when there seems to be no other way? I relate to Kit’s internal battle as I’m also someone who just figures out a way to take care of everyone without stopping to trust God and let Him provide for me.

IMG_6629The women in this story make/have made mistakes and are trying to figure out how to move forward and do life in the culture of their time. Illegitimate children were a huge problem in the regency period with soaring numbers where women faced all the consequences, the the men mostly none. With the intensifying recent awareness of the #metoo movement, Kristi gives us a peak into the lives of women facing the same challenges in the early 1800’s. Add to it the Christian worldview without getting preachy or judgmental, framed in a genre that gets serious, but not overwhelming, I count it as a must read.

Kristi has mentioned some of the statistics in a live video and I emailed her for more info to share. She says, “Basically, prior to the extended Regency period (late 1700s to about 1830) the percentage of children born out of wedlock in the UK was around 3%. During the Regency period that number rose to somewhere between 7% and 9%. The church’s backlash against this – for better or for worse – is, I think, part of what drove into the strictness of the Victorian period. Laws around the care of illegitimate children were changed in 1834 to try to discourage it. ”

I am looking forward to diving into Daphne’s story and getting more into the questions of how do we move forward after we’ve made a mistake? How do we face God and forgive ourselves? I admire Daphne’s strength and joy that appears to come from within and her relationship with God.

I was provided a copy by the publisher. All opinions are honest and my own.

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About the Author

Kristi Ann Hunter is the author of the Hawthorne House series and a 2016 RITA Award 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.

She also has a super fun FB group, so go join!

 

Anticipated Summer Reads

I’m sorry I have been MIA, ya’ll. It’s been a couple interesting weeks. Work has been crazy, and then all of this allergy stuff (I’m sure someone can relate!) decided to settle in and turn into a sinus infection. Thus, I was a giant ball of misery last week, which is why there was no post. I felt so awful I didn’t even post to Instagram (GASP!), so if you’ve been wondering where I went….then our normal trip to see family for Memorial Day weekend, a trip which is normally 9 hours and turning into 10.5 (yes, while still fighting a sinus infection- misery). It’s also turned summer way too early, and while some of you all have a gushy relationship with the heat and sun, it is my least favorite season.

I NEED SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO. 

Here are my most anticipated summer reads. I hope to find a nice air conditioned spot to curl up and read (i.e. not my unconditioned apartment, except my bedroom, which thank you, God, has a window unit). What are you looking forward to reading this summer? Let me know in the comments.

P.S. It’s 10:30 at night and I might miss some…if I think of more, I’ll add them!

5-31-18 РI added Jane by the Book since the cover was just revealed!

A Search for Refuge

The world is a happier place. Why? Because Kristi Ann Hunter’s newest series, Haven Manor,¬†has launched! We are transported to¬†Marlborough and a few years later than the Hawthorne House series. Kristi has promised us glimpses of the Hawthornes, which, if you’re like me, you have been spending a lot of brain power imagining what the siblings are up to.

A Search for Refuge¬†¬†is a novella that opens the series and gives the background story of the founding of Haven Manor. The best part, it’s free! FREE!!!!!¬†While it’s an ebook only, don’t despair if don’t have an ereader. Both Nook and Kindle have apps, and I know at least the Kindle app, you can even read online from a desktop app.

A Search for Refuge is a delightful opening to the new series, and the extended preview at the end verges on mean because I want to read the rest of it RIGHT NOW and I have to wait until June. Ugh! Kristi, can you please write way faster? We want to know what happens with all of those post-it notes on your board!

Also, this cover is gorgeous. I love the eye popping yellow cloak, which is saying something because I’m not a big fan of yellow and I can’t stop staring at it.

A Search for Refuge

Margaretta Fortescue desperately needs to disappear from London society, and her only hope is to follow the rumors of another young woman who recently made a life for herself away from the glare of society. Her search leads her to the market town of Marlborough where, in spite of her efforts to avoid attention, she can’t seem to elude local solicitor Nash Banfield.¬†

All Nash wants is a quiet, sedate life–no risks or surprises. When Margaretta, clearly on the run and unwilling to answer questions, interrupts his solitude, his curiosity and his principles won’t let him leave this determined woman without assistance.

But will discovering the truth about Margaretta make him think twice about finally taking a risk on love?

Kristi is on the top of my list for author/reader interactions. Follow her Instagram and join her Facebook group.

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 INSPY, Christy, and GRW Maggie Award of Excellence. She lives with her husband and three children in Georgia. Find her online at www.kristiannhunter.com.

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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!

All This Timealways watchingAn Inconvienent BeautyBlind SpotJust Look Upaoy cover final(1)A Name UnknownMatter of TrustPeace in ValleyThen There Was you

CFRR Recap – Giveaway

CFRR 19

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.