Friday, May 29, 2015

New Releases: A Worthy Pursuit

Here's my review on Karen Witemeyer's newest book. It will available for purchase in four days! I hope you all will get a chance to read it soon. Once you do, let me know what you thought of it. :)
Book Title: A Worthy Pursuit
Publication Date: June 2, 2015
Publisher: Bethany House

Description:
A teacher on the run. A bounty hunter in pursuit. Can two enemies learn to trust each other before they both lose what they hold most dear?

Stone Hammond is the best tracker in Texas. He never comes home empty-handed. So when a wealthy railroad investor hires him to find his abducted granddaughter, Stone eagerly accepts.

Charlotte Atherton, former headmistress of Sullivan's Academy for Exceptional Youths, will do anything to keep her charges safe, especially the orphaned girl entrusted to her care. Charlotte promised Lily's mother she'd keep the girl away from her unscrupulous grandfather, and nothing will stop Charlotte from fulfilling that pledge. Not even the handsome bounty hunter with surprisingly honest eyes who comes looking for them.

When Miss Atherton produces documentation that shows her to be Lily's legal guardian, Stone must reevaluate everything he's been led to believe. Is she villain or victim? 

Then a new danger forces Charlotte to trust the man sent to destroy her. Stone vows to protect what he once sought to tear apart. Besides, he's ready to start a new pursuit: winning Charlotte's heart.


My Review:
Karen Witemeyer's newest book, A Worthy Pursuit was really good! I sat down one evening and literally finished it in one sitting. I was totally engrossed. I loved everything about this book; Charlotte's love and dedication, Stone's witty personality, the children's antics, and the totally exciting action-filled plot. In fact, going back over the book in my mind I can't think of a single fault. No book is perfect but this one got pretty close to the mark. Even the cover was gorgeous! One of the things I loved most about this book was that even though Charlotte had been hurt in the past she trusted Stone implicitly and opened her heart to love again. That, and Lily's adorable infatuation with Dead-Eye Dan. :D

For any of you who likes Christian Romance/Fiction, I recommend this book as an exciting, romantic, adventurous, western, completely enjoyable, fun read. 

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Note: I received this book through NetGalley. http://netgalley.com

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Interview with Karen Witemeyer

What made you decide to become an author?
I had always been a bookworm as a kid. I’d go to the library and come home with a stack of books I could barely carry, devour them, then go back for more. I would daydream stories in my head with myself as the heroine, of course, while on bus rides to school or while lying in my bed at night waiting to fall asleep. However, I never really considered becoming an author myself. One of my college professors told me I had a talent for writing based on a research paper I turned in, but that was so far from the world of fiction, that I discounted it. Yet, he’d planted a seed, and a few years later, when I was a stay at home mom, I started toying with the possibility. Could I really write and sell a novel? But three kids in diapers kept me too busy to even try. Then in 2003, my husband’s position was downsized, and all of a sudden I felt pressure to contribute to the family income. I know! I’ll write! Ha! As if writing a book was that easy and selling it automatic. Boy, did I have a lot to learn. But learn I did. I went back to work and started writing on the side. Learned the craft, attended writing conferences, and educated myself on the industry. Then in 2009 I signed my first three-book contract. My first book, A Tailor-Made Bride, hit the shelves in 2010.

Is there someone whose writing inspired you to write?
All the books I ever read and loved. How’s that for specific? Actually, once I got serious about writing and knew I wanted to focus on Christian fiction, the author who inspired me the most was Deeanne Gist. She wrote historical romance with a witty voice and feisty characters, the same blend of humor and heart that I wanted to create in my own stories.

Out of all the female characters in your books which one is your favorite (and why)?
Picking a favorite is so hard. It’s like trying to choose among your children. I guess I’ll pick Adelaide Proctor from Head in the Clouds. My reason is because her faith journey mimicked my own in my writing life. I wrote her story before I gained my first writing contract. I was stuck in the limbo of waiting on the Lord’s timing and trying not to grow discouraged when things didn’t work out the way I’d hoped. Halfway into the writing of the book, I received a rejection from the publisher I most wanted to work with. Adelaide, too, dealt with myriad disappointments and was forced to wait on the Lord’s timing after making a mess of things when she took matters into her own hands. She eventually got her happy ending, and I did too. That publisher I wanted to partner with, asked me to submit another manuscript for consideration. I did. Adelaide’s story. And though they didn’t choose it as my debut novel, they liked it enough to sign me to a contract and include it as my second release. God’s timing really is best.

Out of all the male characters in your books which one is your favorite (and why)?
This choice is a little easier - Levi Grant from To Win Her Heart. There was just something special about him that grabbed my heart and spoke to my readers as well. I get more comments about him than any other of my heroes. He is the strong, silent type. An ex-prizefighter turned blacksmith who battles a lisp. In order to hide his speech impediment, he reads extensively to enlarge his vocabulary so he can avoid words with “s” sounds. That’s how he meets the heroine, Eden, who happens to be a librarian. But it is faith journey that really tugs on the heartstrings. He is a prodigal. A criminal who spent two years in prison after accidentally killing an opponent in the boxing ring. He finds his way back to God and vows to never fight again. For any reason. That vow nearly kills him, but he keeps it, and wins Eden’s heart in the process.

Out of all the different genres of books why did you choose to write Historical Romance?
Simple - Historical Romance is my favorite genre to read. I rarely read anything else. I enjoy a variety of time periods, but I almost never read contemporary. Maybe it’s the big dresses or the escape of traveling back to a simpler time, but the historical aspect adds more of a fairy tale feel to the story for me. And being a Disney fan and a huge romance sap, the fairy tale feel is exactly what I’m looking for in a novel. I’m a firm believer that authors should write what they love to read. It’s what gives a book passion.

 What are two things that people might be surprised to know about you?
  • I live next door to my in-laws and actually love it.
  • I love to crack “punny” jokes with my kids while my husband rolls his eyes.
What's your favorite book & favorite movie?
My favorite book of all time is The Secret by Julie Garwood. My favorite movie - hmm...I’m going to say Disney’s Enchanted. That one had me tearing up from laughing as well as sighing with fairy tale satisfaction.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
I can remember going through many possibilities. Math Teacher, Athletic Trainer, Lawyer. I ended up getting a degree in School Psychology but I never made a career out of it. Now I work as a Testing Coordinator for Abilene Christian University and write novels. Only God could have figured this one out.

What three adjectives would your family/friends use to describe you?
  • Goofy
  • Task-Oriented
  • Nurturing
How does your faith influence your books?
Faith is an integral part of each story I write. It is why I write. My characters are usually mature believers who still struggle with temptation, patience, worry, trust - all the things we as Christians continue to struggle with even after years of walking with Jesus. In fact, most of the spiritual issues my characters battle mirror what I’m battling in my own life. My goal is to tell an entertaining story . . . but deeper than that, I want my stories to touch readers in such a way that they gain encouragement in their own faith journeys.

What's the next book you're writing?
My next book is called A Worthy Pursuit and it will be out in June. Here’s the official blurb:
Be on the lookout for my review on A Worthy Pursuit.
It will be posted in the next couple of days.
Thank you so much, Karen for taking the time to do this interview. I know for myself I totally enjoyed learned more about the person behind some of my favorite books. :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Meet Mollie Tate & Jacob Sadler


Brief Physical Description:
 
Mollie Tate is a spunky young woman. Her bright and cheerful personality makes her a joy to be around. She has beautiful dark-blonde hair and a svelte figure. She became an orphan at a young age but was blessed to be rescued by a kind man named "Uncle" Curtis. Mollie is quick to see the best in people and has a deep passion for her "family". - Julianne Hough is my view of Mollie.
 
Jacob Sadler is a man burdened with the memories of the past. He comes back to his original home to lay those memories to rest but because of unforeseen circumstances they are more real than ever. He has hair of very dark-brown color. His eyes are a vibrant blue, a trait Mollie really likes, and a muscular build. Jacob struggles with forgiveness but Mollie is determined to help him overcome this. :) - I thought Scott Shilstone fit Jacob's description pretty well.

Character Traits:
Mollie is a loyal, fun-loving girl. Family is everything to her and just because someone's made a mistake doesn't mean you stop loving them for even a minute. She's compassionate and tough, a combination that works well when you are the assistant to a doctor. Blood may make a body queasy but when there's a job to be done Mollie isn't one to shirk from the sight. She's spunky and a bit stubborn too. She is a natural born peace-maker and has made it her goal to help the two men she loves the most in the world come to forgive each other and become a true family again.

Jacob has all the right characteristics of his trade. His has a heart for helping others and when there's a crisis you can be sure he'll be one of the first there. He is naturally protective of his friends and family; which makes forgiving the one who hurt them a big issue for him. Jacob is also tenacious. Just because something looks hard doesn't mean it's impossible. He is devoted and would do anything for Darius and Nicole Rucker, his "adopted" parents, and of course, would even try to lasso the moon for Mollie :D)

Occupations:
Mollie used to be a pick-pocket when she was a young orphan. When she was rescued by "Uncle" Curtis, she became saved and gave up those ways. She lived at Uncle Curtis's home with the other orphaned children he gave a home to. Most of them, when they became older, moved on but Mollie is too close to her adopted family to leave so she stays at a rented room in town to be close by. When the new doctor comes to town he offers her a job as an assistant; to which she gladly accepts with only a little hesitation.

Jacob studied to become a doctor at a young age. His service in the Civil War as an army doctor was anything but pleasant and he has many bad memories of the lives he couldn't save. He has now come to his original hometown of Cold Springs to take over the practice from the old town doctor.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Full Steam Ahead Series / Novella

You might remember that I posted the review for the first book in this series a few months past as a new release (Full Steam Ahead). Well, this book, Love on the Mend is the second book/novella in the series. Seeing I've already reviewed the first book I'm going to just skip to the second. If you didn't get the chance to read my review just click on the link below:


Next week I'm going to post another author interview. Exciting, isn't it?! Can you guess who? Yep, that's right, Karen Witemeyer! She is definitely on my list of top five favorite authors. (Because I have so many favorite authors I decided to narrow down my very, very favorites to five. Here they are: Jody Hedlund, Karen Witemeyer, Margaret Brownley, Jen Turano, and Melanie Dickerson. For any authors not on that list, you still have my loyalty and love; just not to the same extent. :)

Enjoy another beautiful week in May and be sure to be on the lookout for next week's interview with Karen Witemeyer!
 

Book Title: Love on the Mend
Series: Full Steam Ahead (Novella)
Author: Karen Witemeyer

Description:
After serving as a doctor during the War Between the States, Jacob Sadler wants nothing more than to establish a quiet country practice in rural Texas. But he knows he'll never find peace until he buries the pain of his past. To that end, he accepts a job in Cold Spring, Texas--the town he's avoided for seventeen years--and discovers his past is definitely still alive and kicking.

When a new doctor arrives in town and saves her brother's leg, Mollie Tate quickly puts him on a hero's pedestal. But then the new doc insults her "Uncle" Curtis. Years ago, Curtis Sadler rescued Mollie when no one else cared. How could he possibly be the villain the new doctor believes him to be?
           
Jacob doesn't know what to make of the young woman who assists him like a seasoned nurse one minute only to take a strip out of his hide the next. Yet the sparks that fly between them make him feel more alive than he has in a long time. As respect for his young nurse turns into something deeper, can he set aside the pain from his past to embrace this new love, or are some sins too big to be forgiven?


My Review:
Love on the Mend has all that right components for making a great novella. There was romance, humor, an exciting plot, and a bit of action.

Both the main characters, Jacob and Mollie, were fun to read about. Their pasts were both well thought out and written.

I really liked the Christian message that was written into this book. It seems like most Christian novels are about forgiveness but I never tire of reading about it; it is one of the biggest things we struggle with after all. Whether it is accepting God's forgiveness, forgiving others who have wronged us, or forgiving ourselves for our own short comings, forgiveness is a subject you can never read too much of. :)

Looking forward to another book by Karen Witemeyer!

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
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I'm planning on posting a Time in the Limelight for both Jacob and Mollie. It probably won't be next week but it will be soon. :)

Sunday, May 10, 2015

New Releases: The Convenient Bride Collection

Book Title:
The Convenient Bride Collection
Publication Date: July 1, 2015
Publisher: Barbour Books

Description:
Join nine brides of convenience on their adventures in a variety of times and settings gone by—from a ranch in California…to the rugged mountains of Colorado…to a steamship on the Mississippi…to the dangerous excitement of the Oregon Trail…into high society of New York City. No matter the time or place, the convenient brides proceed with what must be done, taking nuptials out of necessity. . .and never dreaming that God might take their feeble attempts to secure their futures and turn them into true love stories for His glory.

Novella Titles:

The Substitute Wife by Amanda Barratt
One Way to the Altar by Andra Boeshaar
 with Christina Linstrot Miller
Keeper of My Heart by Mona Hodgson
Blinded by Love by Melissa Jagears
Bonnets and Bees by Maureen Lang
A Groom for Josette by Gabrielle Meyer
Wedded to Honor by Jennifer Uhlarik
A Bride for Bear by Erica Vetsch
Have Cash, Will Marry by Renee Yancy

My Review:
The Covenient Bride Collection contains nine delightful stories of Christ-like love. My favorite story was probably, The Substitute Wife by Amanda Barratt; although it was a close tie with a few others.

One of the things I really liked about The Substitute Wife was that Raymond fell in love with Grace, not because of her looks but because of her inner beauty. Most books portray their main characters to be quite beautiful in appearance; not that I mind that, who despises beauty?, but it was nice to have a change.

I liked most of the books but some of them seemed rushed. Yes, I know that the authors had to write a whole story in a short novella but falling in love in only four days?! That didn't seem realistic, even to me and I consider myself a romantic. A few others were like that too and that's probably the reason that I didn't enjoy them as much as the others.

Other than that, they were all pretty good stories. I was glad that they all had their own unique plot. None of them had the same storyline and, besides the fact that they were all marriages of convenience (obviously), there weren't any really obvious similarities--A fun collection of stories that you're bound to enjoy!

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
It's hard to judge nine different books under one rating... each book was a little different but to rate it overall I'd have to go with three stars.

Note: I received this book through NetGalley. http://netgalley.com

Monday, May 4, 2015

New Releases: The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest

Here's the review on Melanie Dickerson's newest book. It was so good! I hope you all will get this book so you can enjoy it as well. On a side note, isn't the cover gorgeous?!
Book Title:
The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest
Publication Date: May 12, 2015
Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Description:
Swan Lake meets Robin Hood when the beautiful daughter of a wealthy merchant by day becomes the region’s most notorious poacher by night, and falls in love with the forester.

Jorgen is the forester for the wealthy margrave, and must find and capture the poacher who has been killing and stealing the margrave’s game. When he meets the lovely and refined Odette at the festival and shares a connection during a dance, he has no idea she is the one who has been poaching the margrave’s game.

Odette justifies her crime of poaching because she thinks the game is going to feed the poor, who are all but starving, both in the city and just outside its walls. But will the discovery of a local poaching ring reveal a terrible secret? Has the meat she thought she was providing for the poor actually been sold on the black market, profiting no one except the ring of black market sellers?
 
The one person Odette knows can help her could also find out her own secret and turn her over to the margrave, but she has no choice. Jorgen and Odette will band together to stop the dangerous poaching ring . . . and fall in love. But what will the margrave do when he discovers his forester is protecting a notorious poacher?

My Review:
I was really excited when I discovered that Melanie Dickerson was writing a book based on Robin Hood. I've always liked that story and couldn't wait to read a new one with the "Robin Hood" being a girl! What I liked most about this book is that Melanie took a timeless classic and re-wrote it to be new, fresh, different, and possibly more exciting. Odette and Jorgen were great characters. Both had interesting pasts and present lives. Everything about them was clearly explained so you could picture them vividly in your mind.

Besides some action, adventure, romance, and history, this book contains a well-written message of forgiveness. Also, like Odette, you will be challenged to ponder your life and question whether the choices you are making are the right ones. Like all of her books, The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest was a book I'm glad I read. It was a great day when Melanie Dickerson became a published author!

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Note: I received this book through NetGalley. http://netgalley.com

Friday, May 1, 2015

Q & A's with Jody Hedlund

Here are the Q&A's with Jody Hedlund that I promised. I was really excited to post this. I hope you all will enjoy reading this as much as I did. A big thanks to Jody Hedlund for taking the time to send this! For all of you readers out there, I highly recommend checking out her website at jodyhedlund.com. And now finally...
 

Question & Answer's with Jody Hedlund 

 
What was the very first story you ever wrote? Was it ever published?
The first story I wrote was probably in first grade in a spiral notebook, a book about princesses, princes, and happily-ever-afters. And of course, it’s long gone in the trash! But as far as my adulthood writing career, I wrote five novels that are collecting dust in a closet. They were my practice books, the books that helped me grow and become the writer I am today.

Why do you write?
I write because I love telling stories. I love the quote by Toni Morrison because it sums up part of why I write: "If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." Essentially I write the stories that I LOVE to read! Of course there are other, deeper reasons I write too. But that's one of the main ones.
 
What essential ingredients do you strive for in your novels to ensure an authentic love story emerges?
I always try to incorporate the elements that I like to see in the romances I read. That includes deep emotions that are birthed out of a character's past. I also like to have a relationship that evolves organically throughout the book. I try not to have my characters being antagonistic to one another the whole book and then finally falling in love in the last chapter at the last minute. I want the couple to move from friendship to falling in love gradually and to have a growing attraction (with the sparks flying!) throughout the book. At the same time, however, I don't like to have the love relationship resolve too early in the book. Readers don't want the "happily-ever-after" moment to come until the end. So while the relationship is developing, it's important to find ways to keep the couple from being fully together until the end.
 
What has made you grow the most as a writer?
If I had to narrow down one specific thing that has helped the most in my quest for publication, I’d have to say this: My careful, ongoing, and thorough study and practice of writing techniques has been the single most beneficial aspect of my writing career. In other words, I read writing craft books, studied fiction-writing basics, and then put what I learned into practice. All the studying has been the number one thing to help me in my writing career.
 
Do you have any writing quirks?
I don't have too many quirks, other than needing a cup of coffee on hand while I'm writing (especially in the morning!). One of the things I like to do to help me keep on track with my writing is give myself half hour word count challenges–a specific goal of how many words I can get written in a thirty minute time span. Doing these mini-challenges keeps me from getting too distracted by other things while I'm in a writing mode.
 
What is your dream vacation spot?
I’d love to take a research trip to England or Germany and visit castles. Castles totally fascinate me and I'd love to visit as many as I possibly could!
 
What are your hobbies?
My main hobbies when I'm not writing or reading? Drinking coffee and eating chocolate—of course! No seriously. At this stage in my life because I’m busy being a mom, I don't have much time for hobbies. However, I do make a point of running and keeping my body fit. And I also try to carve out fun family time each week. I love taking family bike rides, playing games, and having family movie nights.