First Line Fridays – A Change in Fortune

Welcome to another installment of First Line Fridays, hosted by Hoarding Books. Today I’m featuring a book I’ve reread many times and plan to many more. If you’ve never read a Jen book, then you’re missing out. I’m also happy to report she’s an awesome person as well.

Change of Fourtune

A Change in Fortune by Jen Turano

“NEW YORK, 1880

Miss Eliza Sumner turned the page of the book she was reading aloud, glancing up and biting back a smile at the unusual sight of her two charges, Grace and Lily, listening attentively to her.”

So, grab the book nearest you and comment what your first line is (with title and author, of course!) and then head over to Hoarding Books to see all of the other books/blogs featured today.

 

Charming the Troublemaker – Celebrate Lit – Giveaway

charming the troublemaker copy

About the Book

CTTfrontcover

Title: Charming the Troublemaker

Author: Pepper Basham

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: November 1, 2017

Troublemaking never looked so good…

When Dr. Alex Murdock is demoted to a university in rural Virginia, the last thing he expects to find is a future. But country charm never looks as good as it does on Rainey Mitchell.

Rainey Mitchell doesn’t need a high-class flirt in her wounded world, but trouble and temptations wafts off the new professor as strong as his sandalwood-scented cologne.

When circumstances thrust them together to save her tutoring clinic, can the troublemaker find the hero inside and encourage the reticent Rainey to open her heart again.

Click here to purchase!

My Review

I’ll admit that I was late to jump on the Pepper Basham bandwagon, but once I was on, that wagon moved fast and furious. I consumed as many books as I could get my hands on, including the first in this series, A Twist of Faith. And guys, I was despondent when I found out that I had to wait until November for Charming the Troublmaker to come out. A few days later, I was checking emails, and lo, and behold, there it was, sitting in my email with the reminder that I had signed up for this tour. HOW IN THE WORLD HAD I FORGOT? I will never make that mistake again.

I immediately (and I mean immediately right after I might have jumped up and down, squealed, and posted a photo on Instagram) dove into the story. I was not disappointed.

Anyone who loves laughter, kisses, My Little Pony, kisses, awkward men who don’t know what to do with themselves, kisses, and, oh, yeah, kisses, will love this story. Plus, Pepper continues to show her writing talent by including elements of mystery/suspense while maintaining her trademark romantic comedy. How can a book be a contemporary-romance-comedy-suspense you might ask? Trust me, just read it.

I loved it so much that when I hit The End, I thought about starting it right over and reading it a second time, but then I decided that would probably be absurd. But I wanted to, and now that I’m writing this post, I’m realizing how much I miss Alex, Rainey, and Sarah, and….(I’m posting now because I have to go read this again…_peace out, ya’ll)

About the Author

pepperquilt

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes novels inspired by her love for history and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her Penned in Time series has garnered recognition in the Inspys, Grace Awards, and the ACFW Carol Awards. Her contemporary romance novel, A Twist of Faith, received 4-stars from Romantic Times, and most recently, her newest release, The Thorn Healer, received a Top Pick from RT with 4 ½ stars. Her newest contemporary romance, Just the Way You Are, releases in April 2016. You can get to know Pepper on Facebook, or over at her group blog, The Writer’s Alley, or Instagram.

Guest Post from Pepper Basham

I have a thing for underdogs.

Misfits.

Lots souls who desperately need to find where they belong.

I can’t help it! Call it a ‘fix-it’ mentality or an awareness that God rescued me and now I want to rescue other people…even fictional characters, but I’m definitely a softy for those characters that people are less likely to root for. Catherine from The Thorn Bearer/Keeper became my first rescue…and I just HAD to find another.

I guess that’s how Charming the Troublemaker came into existence.

Dr. Alex Murdock desperately needed to be rescued.

In a bad way.

If you’ve had a chance to read my first book in the Mitchell’s Crossroads series, A Twist of Faith, you’ll know that Alex doesn’t seem to be made up of much hero material. He’s a flirt, a little arrogant, and…well, kind of like a lost puppy.

As book 1 grew and came to a close, I knew Alex and Rainey’s story would be next…but I immediately ran into a real problem.

Who in the world was Alex Murdock? We really didn’t get to know him very much in book 1. He zoomed in a few times, ruffling feathers and then finally showing off some interesting kindness/compassion in the end, but…he was still a big-time flirt.

So the question emerged: Can a flirt be a hero?

What is Alex hiding behind that ready smile and sense of humor? Why does he seem so lost?

The answers were surprising!! Just wait.

The Mitchell family draw him right in, as they did with Dee, and his world is forever changed.

And then there’s Rainey. Strong-willed and independent, she is deeply wounded by her ex-husband’s betrayal. Though she gives off all these ‘confident’ vibes, she hides her insecurities behind a tough exterior in a desire to keep people at a distance – well, everyone except her family.

Alex rocks her world with his ready charm.

And she sees beyond the plastic grin to recognize another wounded soul.

Throwing them together into a book has been a hilarious and heart-stirring adventure, I wasn’t prepared to encounter. They’re so much fun!

AND…he’s ADORKABLE!! Seriously!! He is SUCH a dork, but makes me grin. And…he looks like Armie Hammer 😉

Let me just give you a hint to some of my favorite scenes:

Anything with Sarah!

Underoos

All of the scenes in Rainey’s house

And those in Mama Mitchell’s

Okay, I like the WHOLE STORY…and I can’t wait to see what you think too.

Blog Stops

By The Book, November 14

Just the Write Escape, November 14

Avid Reader Book Reviews, November 15

Reading Is My SuperPower, November 15

Moments Dipped in Ink, November 15

Fiction Aficionado, November 16

autism mom, November 16

Fiction, Faith, and Fun, November 17

Inklings and Notions, November 17

Faithfully Bookish, November 18

Radiant Light, November 18

Reflections From My Bookshelves, November 19

The Power of Words, November 19

Cordially Barbara, November 20

Red Headed Book Lady, November 20

Smiling Book Reviews, November 20

Kat’s Corner Books, November 21

A Greater YesNovember 21

100 Pages per HourNovember 22

Splashes of JoyNovember 22

Carpe Diem, November 23

Bookworm Mama, November 23

A Baker’s Perspective, November 24

The Important Things in Life: God, Books, & Chocolate, November 24

Daysong ReflectionsNovember 25

Rachel Scott McDaniel, November 25

Remembrancy, November 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 26

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, November 27

Karen Sue HadleyNovember 27

Giveaway

 

5b0da174-3bb2-47fb-9e0d-a0ce456971e5-225x300To celebrate her tour, Pepper is giving away a grand prize of a paper copy of A Twist of Faith, a mug from the Blue Ridge Parkway, one driftwood scented candle, one mango scented candle, and a Troublemaker snickers 😉 highly appropriate. Chocolate with a nutty personality :)!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c1f1

 

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck

SLS Hollenbeck 2

@seebethanywrite

Picking up this read was a completely spontaneous decision for me, which by the way, is completely NOT like me. I had heard rumblings about this amazing book coming out that seemed right up my alley and  decided to put it on the hold list at the library (I rarely buy new to me authors). Then it came out and it was like my social media world exploded with The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck. I thought I’d have to wait since it was brand new, but lo, and behold, I got the coveted message that it was ready to be picked up. I went as soon as possible.

I then proceeded to read it in almost  one sitting.

The Story

SLS Hollenbeck Becoming a Christian is the best and worst thing that has ever happened to Sarah Hollenbeck. Best because, well, that’s obvious. Worst because, up to this point, she’s made her very comfortable living as a well-known, bestselling author of steamy romance novels that would leave the members of her new church blushing. Now Sarah is trying to reconcile her past with the future she’s chosen. She’s still under contract with her publisher and on the hook with her enormous fan base for the kind of book she’s not sure she can write anymore. She’s beginning to think that the church might frown on her tithing on royalties from a “scandalous” book. And the fact that she’s falling in love with her pastor doesn’t make things any easier.

With a powerful voice, penetrating insight, and plenty of wit, Bethany Turner explodes onto the scene with a debut that isn’t afraid to deal with the thorny realities of living the Christian life.

My Review

Guys, I will be the first to admit that the subject matter in The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it was exactly mine. As I delve more and more into the Christian Fiction world, one thing that can get on my nerves is when authors ignore the realities of attraction and how we, as broken humans, respond to. It’s like sex doesn’t exist (gasp! I wrote the “s” word).

SLS Hollenbeck 1

@seebethanywrite

That is where this story is different. It puts it right out there in front for everyone to see and get comfortable with from the start. I mean, what else are you going to expect from a reformed romance writer (as in THAT kind of romance)? But Bethany approaches it in a refreshingly real way that seems more like a friend is telling you a story, imparting the life lessons within, without going into gory detail. I’ve heard many say that it’s about the testimony of God in their story, not the details, and while there are plenty of details, it’s not the kind of details that make your eyes want to burn.

So, while I could go on about great story and swoony heroes, I won’t, because the essence of the story is what got to me at my core and made it relatable in a way that only a few other authors have accomplished.

In my opinion, this is exactly what Christian Fiction should be about; how do I be a Christ-follower while navigating this world I’m living in, but not of?

kats-corner-cat-amazonkats-corner-cat-goodreadskats-corner-cat-bn

The Author

Bethany is a born and bred Kentucky girl who relocated to Colorado in 2001, three years after meeting the love of her life in a chat room, back before anyone knew that wasn’t always a good idea. Thankfully, it worked out in this case, and she and her husband are the proud parents of two boys. In 2014 Bethany walked away from her career as a bank vice president to step out in faith as a writer. Since then, God has not only opened doors in the publishing world, but has also called her to full-time ministry serving on a church staff. She is an innovative systems administrator for a rural church that is passionate about reaching the unchurched.

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.

kats-corner-cat-amazonkats-corner-cat-goodreadskats-corner-cat-bn

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.

First Line Fridays – Just The Way You Are

This is my first ever First Line Friday post! Yay! I’ve been thinking about jumping into that pond for awhile and now that they have an awesome new widget hosted by Hoarding Books, I can link up on the weeks that it works for me. So, today, while hanging out in jury duty, I bring you:

Just The Way You Are by Pepper Basham

Just the Way You Are

“One step into the massive, glass-walled waiting area was all it took.”

So, grab the book nearest you and comment what your first line is

(with title and author, of course!) and then head over to Hoarding Books to see all of the other books/blogs featured today.

 

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

Family Recommends

Whew! Boy am I happy to be home! Every Labor Day we make a whirlwind trip back to Ohio and stay at my husband’s eldest brother’s house. It’s a great time with tons of family, and I love them all, but my introverted self barely survives every year. This year I had some interesting bookish conversations with my three sisters-in-law sharing some of the things I love, memories from CFRR, and things they love. So, of course I asked them what Christian Fiction book they’ve read recently that they recommend; it sounded like a perfect blog post and I’m always looking for new reads. I hope that you can find something you’ll enjoy. Here is each of their top picks:

Veil of Fire by Marlo Schalesky Veil of Fire

“Replete with suspense. Very difficult to put down.” This recommendation comes from my youngest sister-in-law. While she couldn’t remember the title right off the bat, she was very animated telling me all about it and how awesome it was. It’s a fictional story woven into an actual historic event . Thank goodness for Google because I was intrigued.
In 1894, the worst firestorm in Minnesota history descended on the town of Hinckley, consuming 400 square miles and killing 418 people in just four hours.

Heat, flame, and darkness swept through the town, devouring lives, and consuming all hope. In the aftermath of the fire, the town of Hinckley rises from the ashes, its people determined to rebuild their lives.

But in the shadows, someone is watching, someone is waiting, someone who knows the secrets the fire lay bare. A rumor spreads of a mysterious figure that haunts the hills; monster, a ghost, or a memory?

Midnight on the Mississippi (Secrets of the South Mysteries #1) byMary Ellis

Midnight on the MissippiNext up is my oldest sister-in-law’s recommendation. She reads almost as much as I do and we often trade books we loved to add to our TBR piles. She was currently reading the third in this series and said she had been hooked from the start and was anxiously waiting for the third to come out. Thus, she recommended the first in the series so you can get hooked too. From what I understand, you’ll need to read all three as it’s an ongoing series; not always my cup of tea as I prefer stories to wrap up in one book, but some of you all love these cliffhangers.
Midnight on the Mississippi begins the new Secrets of the South Mysteries from bestselling author Mary Ellis. These complex crime dramas follow an investigator’s quest to make the world a better place…solving one case at a time.

New Orleans–Hunter Galen, a stock and securities broker, suspects his business partner, James Nowak, may be involved in embezzling their clients’ money, but he’s reluctant to jeopardize their friendship based on suspicion alone. After James turns up dead, Hunter realizes his unwillingness to confront a problem may have cost James his life.

Nicki Price, a newly minted PI, intends to solve the stockbroker’s murder, recover the missing millions from the client accounts, and establish herself in the career she adores. As she ferrets out fraud and deception at Galen Investments, Hunter’s fiancee, Ashley Menard, rubs Nicki the wrong way. Nicki doesn’t trust the ostentatious woman with an agenda longer than the Mississippi River. Ashley seems to be hiding something, but is Nicki’s growing attraction to Hunter–a suspected murderer–her true reason for disliking Ashley?

As they encounter sophisticated shell games, blackmail, and murder, Nicki and Hunter’s only option is to turn to God as they search for answers, elude lethal danger, and perhaps discover love along the way.

Just Look Up (Harbor Point #1) by Courtney Walsh

Just Look Up

Last, but not least, is my middle sister-in-law. We are the most alike and both outlaws in this crazy family and married to the two craziest brothers. We spent the weekend bonding over the fact that two seemingly intelligent women married such silly men, but we wouldn’t change them for the world. She’s in the throws of raising 5 kids, 4 of which are 5 and under, so she doesn’t get to read nearly as often as she would like. She remembers reading a great fiction book, but for the life of her can’t remember it; she’s more of a non-fiction reader. BUT, she really wanted to read Just Look Up, which I finished last week (it’s fantastic), I brought it to her this weekend and she was 6 chapters in before I left, even with the craziness of the weekend.
After tirelessly climbing the ranks of her Chicago-based interior design firm, Lane Kelley is about to land her dream promotion when devastating news about her brother draws her back home–a quaint tourist town full of memories she’d just as soon forget. With her cell phone and laptop always within reach, Lane aims to check on her brother while staying focused on work–something her eclectic family doesn’t understand.

Ryan Brooks never expected to settle down in Harbor Pointe, Michigan, but after his final tour of duty, it was the only place that felt like home. Now knee-deep in a renovation project that could boost tourism for the struggling town, he is thrilled to see Lane, the girl he secretly once loved, even if the circumstances of her homecoming aren’t ideal.

Their reunion gets off to a rocky start, however, when Ryan can’t find a trace of the girl he once knew in the woman she is today. As he slowly chips away at the walls Lane has built, secrets from his past collide with a terrible truth even he is reluctant to believe. Facing a crossroads that could define his future with Lane and jeopardize his relationship with the surrogate family he’s found in the Kelleys, Ryan hopes Lane can see that maybe what really matters has been right in front of her all along–if only she’d just look up.