Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Magnolia Duchess


The Magnolia Duchess
(Gulf Coast Chronicles, Book 3)
Beth White
(Revell)
ISBN: 978-0800721992
April 2016/352 pages/$14.99

As the War of 1812 rages across the newly formed United States, another war rages in Fiona Lanier's heart--one that threatens to tear her family apart.

Fiona can scarcely take in the news of her brother's capture and imprisonment by the British Navy. It is almost as unbelievable as the half-drowned British sailor who is washed ashore on the beach of Navy Cove.

Charlie Kincaid claims to have no memory of his life before being discovered by Fiona, but in a world that seems saturated with treachery, she cannot be sure he is telling the truth.

As Charlie's memory returns in agonizing jags and crashes, he and Fiona discover that falling in love may be as inevitable as the tide. But when political allegiances collide, they'll each have to decide where their true loyalty lies.


Read an excerpt.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Photo Credit:
(c)Wendy Wilson
Photography
Beth White's day job is teaching music at an inner-city high school in historic Mobile, Alabama. A native Mississippian, she writes historical romance with a Southern drawl and is the author of The Pelican Bride and The Creole Princess. Her novels have won the American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award, the RT Book Club Reviewers' Choice Award, and the Inspirational Reader's Choice Award. Learn more at www.bethwhite.net.

MY THOUGHTS

As with the two previous books in this series, The Pelican Bride and The Creole Princess, Beth White brings the Gulf Coast to life in the early days of our nation's history. While many novels set in this time period spotlight the eastern seaboard, Mobile and New Orleans are home to The Magnolia Duchess. Fact and fiction weave together in a magnificent tale of patriotism, love, and loyalty--and the dilemma that arises when those values conflict. White fills this novel with a host of strong characters, both historical and fictional, and includes important strategic events without weighing the story down with unnecessary detail. Each book in this series stands alone and varies by time period, but I strongly suggest reading all three for the richest experience. Beth White remains on my must-read list and I strongly suggest you add her to yours. Grab your copy of The Magnolia Duchess today!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Baker/Revell Publishers as part of a blog tour. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


MY PREVIOUS REVIEWS OF THIS SERIES

The Pelican Bride (Book 1)
The Creole Princess (Book 2)


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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Song of Silence


Song of Silence
Cynthia Ruchti
(Abingdon Press)
ISBN: 978-1426791499
April 2015/320 pages/$14.99

Music taught Lucy love and beauty. Could silence teach her hope?

Lucy and Charlie Tuttle agree on one thing: they’re committed to each other for life. Trouble is, neither of them expected life to look like this. Charlie retired early, but Lucy is devoted to a long-term career . . . until the day she has no choice.
Forced to retire from her position as music educator in a small Midwestern K-8 school, Lucy can only watch helplessly as the program her father started years ago disintegrates before her eyes. As the music fades and a chasm separates her form the passion of her heart, Lucy wonders if her faith’s song has gone silent, too. The musical score of her life seems to be missing all the notes.

When a simple misstep threatens to silence Lucy forever, a young boy and his soundless mother change the way she sees—and hears—everything.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed in hope. She’s the award-winning author of 17 books and a frequent speaker for women’s ministry events. She serves as the Professional Relations Liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers, where she helps retailers, libraries, and book clubs connect with the authors and books they love. She lives with her husband in Central Wisconsin. Find out more about Cynthia at http://www.cynthiaruchti.com.



MY THOUGHTS

When I pick up a book by Cynthia Ruchti, I know I am in for a treat. While all of her books are hemmed with hope, this one sets a new bar for encouragement for the soul. Were a casual reader to simply skim the novel, the time would be well-spent as the story is engaging. (Although I challenge anyone to simply gloss over any part of this magnificent book!) But for the thoughtful reader, especially one who loves and appreciates music, this tale is a veritable symphony for the soul. The parallels between music and the difficult seasons of life will strike a chord with anyone who has experienced a time of silence or waiting upon God. I lost count of how many times I stopped and reread a sentence simply for its beauty and the truth it contained. Ruchti's exquisite prose begs to be highlighted, quoted, and turned into framed art. Truly a masterpiece of fiction with a message that will touch your heart, Song of Silence resonates long after the final page is turned. If you read just one book this year, make it this one!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Abingdon Press & Litfuse Publicity Group for a blog tour. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


As the music fades and a chasm separates her from the passion of her heart, will Lucy's faith song go silent, too? Find out in Cynthia Ruchti's new book, Song of Silence. The musical score of her life seems to be missing all the notes. When a simple misstep threatens to silence Lucy forever, a young boy and his soundless mother change the way she sees—and hears—everything.

Celebrate the release of Song of Silence with a blog tour and giveaway. Two winners will be chosen!

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One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of Song of Silence
  • A $150 Visa cash card
One second place winner will receive:
  • A copy of Song of Silence
  • A music-themed prize pack filled with goodies hand-picked by Cynthia
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry! The giveaway ends on May 9th. The winners will be announced May 10th on Cynthia's blog.

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Monday, April 25, 2016

The Inheritance


The Inheritance
Secrets of the Shetlands (Book 1)
Michael Phillips
(Bethany House)
ISBN: 978-0764217487
April 2016/434 pages/$14.99

The death of the clan patriarch has thrown the tiny Shetland Islands community of Whale’s Reef into turmoil.

Everyone assumed MacGregor Tulloch’s heir to be his grand-nephew David, a local favorite, but when it is discovered that MacGregor left no will, David’s grasping cousin Hardy submits his own claim to the inheritance, an estate that controls most of the island’s land. And while Hardy doesn’t enjoy much popular support, he has the backing of a shadowy group of North Sea oil investors. The courts have frozen the estate’s assets while the competing claims are investigated, leaving many of the residents in financial limbo. The future of the island—and its traditional way of life—hangs in the balance.

Loni Ford is enjoying her rising career in a large investment firm in Washington, DC. Yet in spite of her outward success, she is privately plagued by questions of identity. Orphaned as a young child, she was raised by her paternal grandparents, and while she loves them dearly, she feels completely detached from her roots. That is until a mysterious letter arrives from a Scottish solicitor. . . .

Past and present collide in master storyteller Phillips’s dramatic new saga of loss and discovery, of grasping and grace, and of the dreams of men and women everywhere.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Phillips is a bestselling author with more than 70 of his own titles. In addition, he has served as editor/redactor of nearly 30 more books. He is known as the man responsible for the reawakened interest in George MacDonald of the last 30 years. In addition to the MacDonald titles adapted/edited for today’s reader, his publishing efforts in bringing back full-length quality facsimile editions also spawned renewed interest in MacDonald’s original work. Michael and his wife, Judy, spend time each year in Scotland but make their home near Sacramento, California. Find out more about Michael at his Facebook page.


MY THOUGHTS

I was intrigued by the premise of this book and enjoyed aspects of it but, overall, it was a disappointment. The story dragged with too many insignificant details provided. In what I assume is an attempt to show David's involvement in the lives of the tenants of Whale's Reef, pages are committed to detailing meaningless errands and encounters as he walks from place to place in the village. The slow pace continued throughout much of the book. As the story neared its expected climax with Loni's arrival on the island and other events and happenings, the book came to an abrupt end, seemingly in the middle of a paragraph or scene. It didn't build up to a cliff-hanger that made me want to read the next book; it almost seemed as if the novel had been stopped at a certain word count and anything beyond that point was eliminated. However, I encourage you to check out other reviews, as they vary widely.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Bethany House Publishers & Litfuse Publicity Group for a blog tour. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



GIVEAWAY

Enter to win a copy of The Inheritance—five winners will be chosen! Click the image below to enter to win. The winners will be announced May 12 on the Litfuse blog!






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Monday, April 18, 2016

The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder


The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder
(Herringford and Watts Mysteries)
Rachel McMillan
(Harvest House)
ISBN: 978-0736966405
April 2016/224 pages/$9.99

In 1910 Toronto, while other bachelor girls perfect their domestic skills and find husbands, two friends perfect their sleuthing skills and find a murderer.

Inspired by their fascination with all things Sherlock Holmes, best friends and flatmates Merinda and Jem launch a consulting detective business. The deaths of young Irish women lead Merinda and Jem deeper into the mire of the city’s underbelly, where the high hopes of those dreaming to make a new life in Canada are met with prejudice and squalor.

While searching for answers, donning disguises, and sneaking around where no proper ladies would ever go, they pair with Jasper Forth, a police constable, and Ray DeLuca, a reporter in whom Jem takes a more than professional interest. Merinda could well be Toronto’s premiere consulting detective, and Jem may just find a way to put her bachelor girlhood behind her forever–if they can stay alive long enough to do so.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rachel McMillan is a keen history enthusiast and a lifelong bibliophile. When not writing or reading, she can most often be found drinking tea and watching British miniseries. Rachel lives in bustling Toronto, where she works in educational publishing and pursues her passion for art, literature, music, and theater. Find out more about Rachel at http://www.a-fair-substitute-for-heaven.blogspot.com.


MY THOUGHTS

They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover but in this case, the story inside is every bit as charming and whimsical as the exterior. Rachel McMillan whisks the reader to 1910 Toronto in her debut novel as two plucky, not-quite-spinster-age young women set out to solve the crimes and injustices in their city. Plenty of adventures-and not a few mishaps-await as they endeavor to avoid those who would stand in their way, be it the less-honorable members of society or the unremitting threat of the Morality Squad (my favorite!). McMillan is sure to garner plenty of fans with this first full-length installment in her Herringford and Watts series. (A prequel digital novella, A Singular and Whimsical Problem, released late last year.) Mystery and romance combine in this engaging tale that nods to Sherlock Holmes and Watson. A must for your Spring reading list!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Harvest House Publishers & Litfuse Publicity Group for a blog tour. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Meet best friends and flatmates Merinda and Jem, who launch their own Sherlock Holmes-esque consulting detective business in 1910 Toronto in Rachel McMillan’s The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder. The deaths of young Irish women lead Merinda and Jem deeper into the mire of the city’s underbelly. Merinda could well be Toronto’s premiere consulting detective, and Jem may just find a way to put her bachelor girlhood behind her forever–if they can stay alive long enough to do so.

Rachel is celebrating the release of The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder with a Murder Mystery Prize Pack giveaway (details below) and an author chat party on April 28!

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One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 4/28. The winner will be announced at The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder Facebook party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Rachel and other readers, as well as for a chance to win other prizes!

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RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST
and increase your chances of winning.
Hope to see you on the 28th!



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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Sit, Stay, Love


Sit, Stay, Love
(Love Unleashed)
Dana Mentink
(Harvest House)
ISBN: 978-0736966078
April 2016/224 pages/$9.99

Take one abrasive professional athlete, a quirky out-of-work schoolteacher, and an overweight geriatric dog, and you’re ready for a lesson in love . . . Tippy style.

Pro baseball pitcher Cal Crawford is not a dog guy. When he inherits his deceased mother’s elderly dog, Tippy, he’s quick to call on a pet-sitting service.

Gina isn’t thrilled to be a dog sitter when her aspirations lie in the classroom. Furthermore, she can’t abide the unfriendly Cal, a man with all the charm of a wet towel. But with no other prospects and a deep love for all things canine, she takes the job caring for Tippy.

As Gina travels through Cal’s world with Tippy in tow, she begins to see Cal in a different light. Gina longs to show Cal the God-given blessings in his life that have nothing to do with baseball or fame. When her longing blooms into attraction, Gina does her best to suppress it. But Cal is falling in love with her too…

Discover the charming story of Tippy, the dog who brought a family together.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dana Mentink lives in California, where the weather is golden and the cheese is divine. Dana is an American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year finalist for romantic suspense and an award winner in the Pacific Northwest Writers Literary Contest. Her suspense novel, Betrayal in the Badlands, earned a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award. Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third and fourth grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with her husband, two daughters, a dog with social anxiety problems, a chubby box turtle, and a feisty parakeet. Find out more about her at her website.



MY THOUGHTS
I am so not a dog person-or any animal person-as those who have read my blog for any length of time know. But the premise of this book intrigued me so I decided to give it a try. Although I would have had the same reaction as Cal to receiving such a bequest, I found myself, like him, softening as I read this engaging story. Tippy is not your average dog, and he quickly wins over those who come into contact with him! Dana Mentink has penned a clever story with quirky yet likeable characters, amusing moments, and a heart-warming romance. Those who are already dog enthusiasts will love this book, and even those less enamored with the canine species will discover that Tippy works his way into their hearts to Sit, Stay, Love! Grab your copy today.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Harvest House Publishers & Litfuse Publicity Group for a blog tour. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


What do you get when you add one abrasive professional athlete, a quirky out-of-work schoolteacher, and an overweight geriatric dog? A lesson in love—Tippy style—in Dana Mentink's new book, Sit, Stay, Love. As Gina travels through Cal’s world with Tippy in tow, she begins to see Cal in a different light. Gina longs to show Cal the God-given blessings in his life that have nothing to do with baseball or fame. When her longing blooms into attraction, Gina does her best to suppress it. But Cal is falling in love with her too. . . .

Join Dana in celebrating the release of Sit, Stay, Love with a blog tour and a Travels with Tippy prize pack giveaway!

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One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of Sit, Stay, Love
  • A $75 Visa cash card
  • A basket filled with Tippy-themed goodies
  • Travel-themed decorator box
  • Reading dog statue
  • Dog journal
  • Poems for Dog Lovers
  • Snuggle Paws fleece blanket from Animal Rescue Site
  • Pawprint scarf
  • Doxie desk pen
  • Pupmobile auto magnet

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Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry! The giveaway ends on April 25th. The winner will be announced April 26th on Dana's blog.

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Monday, April 11, 2016

Austen in Austin


Austen in Austin
Four Texas-Set Novellas Based on Jane Austen’s Novels
Susanne Dietze, Anita Mae Draper,
Debra E. Marvin, Gina Welborn
(Whitefire Publishing)
ISBN: 978-1939023773
January 2016/320 pages/$14.99

Discover four heroines in historical Austin, TX, as they find love–Jane Austen style.

Volume 1 includes:

If I Loved You Less by Gina Welborn, based on Emma
A prideful matchmaker examines her own heart when her protégé falls for the wrong suitor.

Romantic Refinements by Anita Mae Draper, based on Sense and Sensibility
A misguided academy graduate spends the summer falling in love . . . twice.

One Word from You by Susanne Dietze, based on Pride and Prejudice
A down-on-her-luck journalist finds the story of her dreams, but her prejudice may cost her true love . . . and her career.

Alarmingly Charming by Debra E. Marvin, based on Northanger Abbey
A timid gothic dime-novel enthusiast tries to solve the mystery of a haunted cemetery and, even more shocking, why two equally charming suitors compete for her attentions.

Four more exciting novellas will follow in volume 2!


ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Susanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she's the award-winning author of over half-dozen historical romances. Married to a pastor and the mom of two, Susanne loves fancy-schmancy tea parties, travel, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama and a plate of nachos.

Anita Mae Draper is retired from the Canadian Armed Forces and lives on the prairie of southeast Saskatchewan, Canada with her hubby of 30 plus years and their youngest of 4 kids. In 2005, Anita Mae made writing a priority in her life when her husband finished a Love Inspired novel and said, "You could write one of these. Why don't you?" Why not, indeed. Anita Mae bought a used laptop and each day, as soon as the school bus pulled out of the yard, she sat down to write about a world where faith and romance were woven under the western skies she'd grown to love. She writes historical romance set in Canada and the United States.

Debra E. Marvin tries not to run too far from real life but the imagination born out of being an only child has a powerful draw. Besides, the voices in her head tend to agree with all the sensible things she says. She’d like to live a wee bit closer to her grandchildren, but is thankful that God is in control, that He chooses to bless us despite ourselves and that He has a sense of humor. Other than writing light-hearted romances and gritty gothics, she has rather normal obsessions such as fabric, peanut butter, vacations, British dramas, and whatever mystery series she’s currently stuck on.

Gina Welborn worked for a news radio station until she fell in love with writing romances. She's the author of eight inspirational romances, including the 2014 Selah finalist "Mercy Mild" in ECPA-bestselling Mistletoe Memories. She serves on the ACFW Foundation Board by helping raise funds for scholarships. She is also the webmaster for the Southwest Oklahoma Corvette Club. Gina lives with her pastor husband, their five Okie-Hokie children, two rabbits, three guinea pigs, and a dog that doesn't realize rabbits and pigs are edible.


MY THOUGHTS

They had me at the title! What's not to love about a collection of novellas patterned after Jane Austen's classic novels and set in the historic capital city of Austin, Texas? The result is as delightful as the premise. (And let me pause here to sigh over the beautiful cover with its iconic Texas bluebonnets, paintbrushes, and capitol building!) You don't have to be a fan of Austen (or Austin!) to enjoy these well-written historical romances. But if you are, they will be that much more enjoyable. For example, Susanne Dietze absolutely nailed the opening line of One Word, which is based on Pride and Prejudice. I enjoyed the references to several events in Austin's late 1800's history, including the Servant Girl Murders. Don't delay in tracking down a copy of this book today! I'm already looking forward to Volume 2, coming in September as four more authors emulate a different collection of Austen stories in Austin!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book from Susanne Dietze and Whitefire Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Thursday, April 7, 2016

A Twist of Faith


A Twist of Faith
Mitchell's Crossroads, Book 1
Pepper Basham
(Firefly Southern Fiction)
ISBN: 978-1941103883
April 2016/308 pages/$14.99

Will a wager against her future steal her chance at true love?

Dr. Adelina Roseland has worked ten years in research as an accent reduction specialist to attain her dream job. But a secret wager to transform Appalachian cattle farmer Reese Mitchell into corporate material challenges Adelina in ways she never expected, threatening her new position.

For one, Adelina didn’t plan for the faith and friction of Reese, or the unexpected influence of his chaotic family. Now, drawn into a culture she’d tried to forget, Adelina finds the warmth of family, the hope of faith, and the joy of love melting away the deep wounds of her past.

But when Reese discovers that he’s a pawn in her climb up the academic ladder, will he forgive Adelina s deceit or will their miscommunication end in two broken lives? Love does not have an accent....

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

As a native of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Pepper Basham enjoys sprinkling her Appalachian culture into her fiction writing. She is an award-winning author of contemporary and historical romances, mom of five, speech-language pathologist, and a lover of chocolate. She resides in Asheville, North Carolina with her family. You can learn more about her at her website or connect on Facebook or Twitter.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pepper Basham's debut novel completely captivated me last year, and this novel proves she is as adept in the contemporary genre as she is writing historical fiction. Drawing from her own Appalachian upbringing and her career as a speech-language pathologist, Basham puts a fun spin on the premise of Pygmalion/My Fair Lady (sans the singing!) in this delightful clash of cultures. Plenty of laugh-out-loud moments fill these pages along with tender and touching scenes, as well--not to mention the cringe-inducing incidents which occur when hubris and humility collide! Spunky and bright with a solid faith message, A Twist of Faith charmed me. I'm eagerly anticipating my return to Mitchell's Crossroads in future books in this series.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received an advanced digital copy of this book from Pepper Basham as part of a blog tour. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Reluctant Duchess


The Reluctant Duchess
(Ladies of the Manor)
Roseanna M. White
(Bethany House Publishers)
ISBN: 978-0764213519
April 2015/400 pages/$14.99

Will Fleeing the Scottish Highlands Only Leave Her in More Danger?

Lady Rowena Kinnaird may be the heiress to a Highland earldom, but she's never felt good enough--not for her father, not for the man she thought she'd marry, not for God. But after a shocking attack, she's willing to be forever an outcast if it means escaping those threatening her life.

Brice Myerston, the Duke of Nottingham, has never been one to shy away from manor-born ladies, yet the last thing he needs is the distraction of the newly introduced Lady Rowena. He has enough on his plate having recently come into possession of a rare treasure for which many would kill, yet those around him seem intent on pairing him with this desperate but beguiling girl.

Rowena is reluctant to marry this notorious flirt. And when she learns that Brice is mixed up in some kind of questionable business with a stolen treasure, she fears she'll end up in more danger than she fled.

Read an excerpt.

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 is the author of nine novels, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her new British series. Roseanna lives with her family in West Virginia. Learn more at her website.

MY THOUGHTS

Roseanna M. White has quickly become a new favorite author of mine, and I can't wait to catch up on her previous novels. The first book in this series, The Lost Heiress, caught my eye last fall and I devoured it. I jumped at the opportunity to review this book and was just as enthralled. I'm amazed that White initially came up with the premise and wrote these books in middle school, although they have undergone numerous rewrites. A compelling story, a cast of intriguing personalities, and a sweeping setting--not to mention a dark and mysterious thread--blend together seamlessly to make The Reluctant Duchess a powerful and irresistible read. Rowena's desperate situation portrays the limited options available to women in that time period and their complete dependence on a favorable marriage to ensure their safety and well-being. While the mystery of the Fire Eyes adds suspense and drama, the beauty of this novel rests in the personal growth that Rowena and Bryce experience as they face the challenges and dangers surrounding them. Of course, the romance is pretty sigh-worthy, as well! While this book can be read as a stand-alone, the continual thread of the Fire Eyes mystery and common characters will have a deeper meaning for those who have read The Lost Heiress. Add The Reluctant Duchess and this series to your Spring Reading List.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Rowena M. White and Baker/Bethany House Publishers for a blog tour. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



Q&A WITH ROSEANNA M. WHITE

1. How did you come up with the idea for The Reluctant Duchess?
The idea for the Ladies of the Manor series first came to me as a middle school student. Way back then, I finished the first book—what eventually became The Lost Heiress—and sat down to write the sequel, which I decided to call Blue Skies in the Morning. I wanted this one to be DEEP. To have a heroine who had suffered in her home life, so that my amazing hero could sweep in and make it all better.

The thing is, my life has been blessedly boring and peaceful and completely filled with love, and at the age of fourteen, I had no idea what a suffering heroine would act like. It took some more life experience—though granted, much of it has been second- or third-hand—to be able to plumb the depths of the character who is now Rowena Kinnaird. It’s taken a lot of revisions to make her who she was meant to be, but I love how she turned out: someone with hurt and pain and suffering . . . and also strength and hope and faith.

And of course, a swoon-worthy hero to swoop in. He can’t just make it all better, but that’s part of the beauty too.

2. What was the most challenging thing about writing this book?
Each novel has its own challenges, and in this one, it was finding the right balance for Rowena’s father. Douglas Kinnaird is a hard man . . . but I didn’t want him to be two-dimensional, a cookie-cutter bad guy and abusive father. I wanted the reader—and Rowena— to eventually understand him, even if that didn’t mean respecting or liking him. But man, it was pretty tough asking myself, “Why would a father hurt his child?” and finding any answer to fit that bill! But it helped to realize that Douglas had been hurt too, and that deep down, he acted out of misguided love.

3. What are the spiritual themes of The Reluctant Duchess?
I debated this myself as I was writing. I’m never quite sure what God’s going to whisper to me as I develop a story, but He always shows me something new. In this one, He brought to mind the story of a missionary I’d read about to my kids a few years ago. George Müller was famous for living on faith, not funds. At one point, when his orphanage has no food, he sits down at the breakfast table and prays a prayer thanking God for their empty plates—because he knew it was an opportunity for God to provide in miraculous ways. Which He did. Empty plates, empty places became a theme in The Reluctant Duchess. Because when we recognize them as opportunity for God to work, we see everything around us in whole new ways.

4. How did you tackle the Highland dialect?
I was so nervous about trying to capture Rowena’s family’s Highland speech! So I watched videos on YouTube about the area, taking frantic notes on speech patterns and words the natives seemed to favor. I read other books that did it well, and listened to the audio versions too, so I could get it in my ear. And then I created rules for myself and stuck to them.

5. What’s coming in the final installment of the series?
Well, I hope readers of The Reluctant Duchess really love the hero’s little sister, Ella, because she’s taking center stage in the last book of the series! Ella is a romantic, a lover of adventure, and also a complete optimist. And when she decides to solve the mystery of the Fire Eyes once and for all, the villains—and the wary hero—had better watch out, because there’s no stopping her.


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Monday, April 4, 2016

Back in the Saddle


Back in the Saddle
Double S Ranch, Book 1
Ruth Logan Herne
(Multnoamah)
ISBN: 978-1601427762
March 2016/320 pages/$9.99

The prodigal is coming home.

It’s been a long time since Colt Stafford shrugged off his cowboy legacy for shiny Manhattan loafers and a promising career on Wall Street. But when stock market manipulations leave him financially strapped, the oldest son of legendary rancher Sam Stafford decides to return to the sprawling Double S ranch in Gray’s Glen, Washington. He’s broke, but not broken, and it’s time to check in with his ailing father, and get his legs back under him by climbing into the saddle again.
He doesn’t expect to come home to a stranger pointing a loaded gun at his chest— a tough yet beautiful woman that Sam hired as the house manager. Colt senses there’s more to Angelina Morales than meets the eye and he’s determined to find out what she’s hiding…and why.

Colt’s return brings new challenges. Younger brother Nick has been Sam’s right-hand man at the ranch for years and isn’t thrilled at having Colt insert himself into Double S affairs. And the ranch’s contentious relationship with the citizens of Gray’s Glen asks all the Stafford men to examine their hearts about what it truly means to be a neighbor. And as Wall Street recovers, will Colt succumb to the call of the financial district’s wealth and power—or finally the courage to stay in the saddle for good?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ruth Logan Herne has more than half a million books in print, including fifteen “Love Inspired” contemporary novels. “Back in the Saddle” is the first book in her new western romance series. Ruth is a founding member of Seekerville, a popular writing collective blog. A country girl who loves the big city, Ruth and her husband live on a farm in upstate New York. Find out more about Ruth at her website.


MY THOUGHTS

Back in the Saddle is an enjoyable first book in the Double S Ranch series that introduces us to the Stafford family, beginning with the oldest son, Colt. What a cast of characters! Colt and his brothers are tough as nails on the trail yet they each bear scars from events in their lives. I loved Colt's dad as his illness caused him to reevaluate his life and priorities and endeavor to right the wrongs he committed against his family and the town. Angelina's mysterious past adds to the drama, while her steady presence and strong faith draw Colt to her. I loved this story and the way the family worked together,even in the midst of conflict. The setting was a bit of a surprise, as I would have guessed it was set in Texas or Wyoming, not the Pacific Northwest area of Central Washington! I'm looking forward to reading more about this family in future books. Grab a copy of this engaging novel today.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Multnomah Publishing & Litfuse Publicity Group for a blog tour. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”




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