Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Rachel Hauck Fires Up the Romance with “A Brush with Love” Kindle Giveaway!

"Fire" up the romance in the new year with Rachel Hauck's newest book, A Brush with Love, by entering her Kindle Fire giveaway! And be sure to catch a sneak peek of the soon-to-be-released How to Catch a Prince!


 One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • A Brush with Love by Rachel Hauck
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway only runs for a week, 12/30 – 1/5. Winner will be announced January 6th on Rachel's blog.




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Monday, December 29, 2014

The Secret of Pembrooke Park

The Secret of Pembrooke Park
Julie Klassen
(Bethany House Publishers)
ISBN: 978-0764210716
December 2014/464 pages/$14.99

Abigail Foster is the practical daughter. She fears she will end up a spinster, especially as she has little dowry, and the one man she thought might marry her seems to have fallen for her younger, prettier sister.

Facing financial ruin, Abigail and her father search for more affordable lodgings, until a strange solicitor arrives with an astounding offer: the use of a distant manor house abandoned for eighteen years. The Fosters journey to imposing Pembrooke Park and are startled to find it entombed as it was abruptly left: tea cups encrusted with dry tea, moth-eaten clothes in wardrobes, a doll's house left mid-play...

The handsome local curate welcomes them, but though he and his family seem acquainted with the manor's past, the only information they offer is a stern warning: Beware trespassers drawn by rumors that Pembrooke Park contains a secret room filled with treasure.

This catches Abigail's attention. Hoping to restore her family's finances--and her dowry--Abigail looks for this supposed treasure. But eerie sounds at night and footprints in the dust reveal she isn't the only one secretly searching the house.

Then Abigail begins receiving anonymous letters, containing clues about the hidden room and startling discoveries about the past.

As old friends and new foes come calling at Pembrooke Park, secrets come to light. Will Abigail find the treasure and love she seeks...or very real danger?

Read an excerpt.


Julie Klassen loves all things Jane--Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. She has won three Christy Awards in the Historical Romance category for The Silent Governess (2010), The Girl in the Gatehouse (2011), and The Maid of Fairbourne Hall (2012). Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota. Learn more about Julie and her books at http://julieklassen.com/.


This may be my favorite Julie Klassen novel to date, and she has written some wonderful books prior to this one! So many elements combine to make this a captivating story: the enthralling Regency era, a fascinating mystery with well-placed moments of suspense, the ever-present inequity between classes, and of course, a bit of romance. A rich assortment of characters add depth and increase the enigma surrounding the estate. I was drawn into the story from the opening pages and had a hard time putting this one down until I finished it. I can usually spot a resolution before it's revealed but Klassen's skill kept me guessing until the end. Add this book to your must-read list and be watching for it when award nominations are revealed next year.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Bethany House 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.”


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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Q&A with Jody Hedlund

Love Unexpected
Beacons of Hope, Book 1
Jody Hedlund
(Bethany House)
ISBN: 978-0764212376
November 2014/352 pages/$14.99

Yesterday I told you a bit about this new release from Jody Hedlund and gave my review. Today, I am happy to share a Question and Answer session with Jody where she discusses the writing of this novel.

1. Why did you write this novel?

Photo Credit:
© Sarah Davis Photography
I wanted to write a series about lighthouses for a number of reasons. First, my state of Michigan is home to the greatest concentration of lighthouses in the U.S. And today more than 120 remain, compared to 500 total for the rest of the nation.

Second, I was drawn to lighthouses because I’m fascinated by the women keepers, who have largely been forgotten by our modern world. During the prime lighthouse era, 1800s to early 1900s, most lightkeepers were men. But occasionally women were appointed to the head keeper or assistant keeper position.

Michigan has the distinction of having had the most women lightkeepers. During my research, I was thrilled to find a resource that centered on those women keepers—a book by Patricia Majher titled Ladies of the Lights: Michigan Women in the U.S. Lighthouse Service. I loved reading about the approximately fifty women who served as either principal or assistant keeper in Michigan lighthouses. They inspired me to bring their stories to life.

2. Did Love Unexpected involve any special research?

Since I live in the middle of Michigan, I’m within only a few hours’ drive from many of the state’s lighthouses. So of course I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do hands-on research.

Accompanied by my two teen daughters and my mom, we drove up the coast of Lake Huron. We stopped first at Sturgeon Point Lighthouse and climbed all the way to the top of the tower. The view over the rocky isthmus and great lake was stunning.

Our second stop of the day was at the Old Presque Isle Lighthouse. This forty-foot tower and unattached keeper’s house provided the backdrop for my novella Out of the Storm, as well as my novel Love Unexpected (Beacons of Hope series, Book One). The remote wilderness setting drew me to this picturesque lighthouse, along with the stories behind some of the women lightkeepers who lived there in the past.

Next, we made our way to the New Presque Isle Lighthouse, which was built farther north to replace the old crumbling one. Thankfully both the old and new structures have survived the passage of time and the harsh weather and now remain as testaments to their once-important role in saving lives.

3. What are the historical landmarks and events you incorporated into your novel?

In addition to the Old Presque Isle Lighthouse and its keeper cottage, I also used many of the other historic landmarks that existed in the area during the mid-1800s. For example, Burnham’s Landing was an actual place near the Presque Isle Harbor. Starting in the 1850s, the Burnham family acquired large tracts of Presque Isle County’s rich timberland. They provided shelter to ships during foul weather, and sold cordwood for fuel to passing steamers. In its early days, the harbor consisted of nothing more than a couple of docks, a general store, a log barn, and several shanties for fishermen.

4. You like to base your main characters on real people. Who inspired the characters in Love Unexpected?

Yes, the story focuses on Mary Chambers Garraty, a real woman from Michigan history who’s known as “Mother to a Lighthouse Dynasty.” Mary settled on Mackinac Island, where she met and married Patrick Garraty in 1859. Patrick Garraty didn’t become keeper of the Old Presque Isle Lighthouse until 1860, so I took some license with the dates in my story, having him as keeper a year earlier than he really was. I also took the liberty of having Mary meet Patrick while already a lightkeeper at Presque Isle rather than on Mackinac Island.

Mary was an assistant to her husband for ten years at which time one of her sons took over as assistant. Patrick and Mary had seven children. Four of them eventually became keepers, including one of their daughters, Anna. In fact, Mary and Anna have earned the distinction of being the only mother-daughter keepers in Michigan.

5. You also like to base your villains on real Michigan criminals. Who inspired the villain in Love Unexpected?

While there isn’t as much recorded about freshwater pirates compared to the epic stories of ocean-faring pirates, we do know that pirating was a problem on the Great Lakes. I based the villain around one of the most infamous pirates, Dan Seavey, who terrorized the Great Lakes during the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Dan Seavey and his two-masted schooner, the Wanderer, would silently slip into ports in the dead of night and would carry off anything of value, including venison, timber, and fish, and pluck cargo off other boats. Sometimes he would extinguish lighthouse lanterns and replace them with fake lights, which would cause unsuspecting ships to wreck, allowing the pirates access to their cargo.

Seavey’s life as a pirate was a long and dangerous one. He’s said to have stolen millions of dollars as an outlaw, though no one is sure what happened to his treasure because he didn’t take it with him to the grave. He later died a penniless
pauper while staying in a Wisconsin convalescent home.

6. What’s the take-away message you want readers to receive after reading your book?

The heroine, Emma, has lost hope in God due to some horrific experiences in her past. Although she “knows” God is still there, she doesn’t have hope that he hears or cares about her personally anymore. My prayer is that readers will find hope, like Emma, that God truly cares. We may not understand how he works or how he answers prayers, but he never abandons us.

No matter where we’ve wandered, no matter what we’ve faced, he’s there as steady and constant as a lighthouse, bringing us safely into his harbor where we can find rest.

Many thanks to Jody Hedlund and Bethany House Publishers for this providing this Q&A session as well as a copy of this novel for my review.


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Monday, December 22, 2014

Love Unexpected

Love Unexpected
Beacons of Hope, Book 1
Jody Hedlund
(Bethany House)
ISBN: 978-0764212376
November 2014/352 pages/$14.99

Presque Isle, Michigan

What Is the Secret That Could Shipwreck Both of Their Lives?

All Emma Chambers ever wanted was a home, but when her steamboat sinks just outside Presque Isle, she's left destitute and with no place to stay.

An unlikely solution arises when the lighthouse keeper arrives in town. He's just lost his wife and is having a difficult time caring for his child. So a traveling preacher gets the idea that the keeper and Emma might be the answer to each other's dilemma. After a hasty marriage, she finds herself heading to the lighthouse with this handsome but quiet stranger. Nothing in her aimless life, though, has prepared her for parenting a rambunctious toddler, as well as managing a household.

Emma soon suspects Patrick may be hiding something from her, and then she hears a disturbing rumor about the circumstances surrounding his late wife's death. It seems as if her wish for a home and family of her own could end up leading her once more into turbulent waters.

Read an excerpt.


Photo Credit:
© Sarah Davis Photography
Jody Hedlund is the bestselling author of seven novels, including Captured by Love, A Noble Groom, winner of the 2014 Carol Award for Historical Fiction, and The Preacher's Bride, winner of the 2011 Award of Excellence. She received a bachelor's degree from Taylor University and a master's from the University of Wisconsin, both in social work. She lives in Midland, Michigan, with her husband and five busy children. She can be found online at www.jodyhedlund.com.


Jody Hedlund is quickly becoming one of my must-read authors, and I am already loving this new series! Lighthouses are such a fascinating part of our nation's history and stories of their keepers are equally compelling. While this is a fictional tale, it has its roots in a real couple who lived at and worked the lighthouse on Presque Isle, Michigan. Engaging characters and a compelling storyline immediately drew me into this novel, and I couldn't put it down, reading it in one night. Hedlund weaves faith into the story naturally as Emma and Patrick struggle with the impact that past circumstances and choices make on their current lives. You don't want to miss this book or this series. Grab your copy today!

Tomorrow, join me for a Q&A with Jody Hedlund!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Jody Hedlund and Bethany House 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.”


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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Merry Wednesday Hodgepodge

If it's Wednesday, it's time to join Joyce for the Hodgepodge!

1. Time magazine has selected The Ebola Fighters as their person of the year for 2014. Do you agree, and if so who would you say is a close second? If you disagree with their choice, who do you think should have been chosen?

That's a better choice than some of the ones they have picked in the past. I don't know who I would pick for a runner-up.

2. This question comes to you courtesy of Susan who blogs over at Stew Mama Says. She knows we have a wedding happening any minute now, and she asks, 'What's your favorite-something old? something new? something borrowed? something blue in your home? Be sure you hop over and say hi to Susan today!

Old - my mom's rolling pin & sifter. Practically speaking, they are better than any new ones I've used, and they always bring back sweet memories when I use them.
New - the Amish quilt on our bed
Borrowed - I honestly can't think of anything I have that is borrowed.
Blue - My recliner

3. Fudge-yay or nay? Your favorite flavor? Do you make it yourself? With nuts or without?

Occasionally, in small amounts. But it has to be chocolate, not peanut butter or any other kind. And absolutely with nuts!

4. December 17th is Wright Brothers Day, commemorating the first successful flights made by Orville and Wilbur Wright in 1903 in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. How old were you when you made your first flight? Do you like to fly? Have you ever been to Kitty Hawk or other parts of the North Carolina Outer Banks?

5. Do the people in your family tend to follow a particular career path, and if so what's the path?

No, we've all done different things. But getting a college degree is automatic.

6. What is one thing you absolutely, positively must accomplish today?

I have peanut brittle to make and some Christmas shopping to finish. Although the peanut brittle may get pushed to tomorrow, depending on the weather. Of course, it was perfect candy-making weather on Monday and Tuesday when I had to work!

7. This Christmas I hope___________________________________.

I hope we all stay healthy and don't deal with congestion or other issues.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Emmanuel. Our God is with us.

Do we even comprehend what that really means?!


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Monday, December 15, 2014

Our God Is With Us

Reposting this from December 2008....

This is one of my favorite songs you don't hear much any more. Michael Card and Steve Green sing this song reflecting on the incredible reality of what we celebrate.


We can't even begin to fathom, 2000 years later, what that was really like, what that meant to those living at the time of the Messiah's birth, to the shepherds who received the good news from the angels, to the Magi who followed the star and fell at their feet to worship the Christ Child. I've alluded to this before, but studying the Old Testament and the lives of the ancient Israelites made Christmas so precious to me.

Think of the Israelites: Years of slavery followed by wandering in the wilderness, finally reaching the Promised Land only to settle for earthly kings who fell fall short of God's requirements. Trying to follow a law that only revealed the darkness within their adulterous hearts which turned away time and time again from their covenant God to worship dead, worthless, man-made idols. The tabernacle and the temple, with its Holy of Holies where only the high priest could enter, and then only once a year. The continual need for a sacrifice, which could only cover - but not remove - sin. Hearing a word from God only through prophets. Carried away once again in exile to a foreign land. Finally allowed to return home. But then. . .silence.

400 long years of silence. No prophets. No signs. No word from God.

When suddenly, the very Son of God took on flesh and was born as a baby.

Immanuel. Our God is with us.

Words and Music by Michael Card

A sign shall be given
A virgin will conceive
A human baby bearing
Undiminished deity

The glory of the nations
A light for all to see
That hope for all who will embrace
His warm reality

Our God is with us
And if God is with us
Who could stand against us
Our God is with us

For all those who live in the shadow of death
A glorious light has dawned
For all those who stumble in the darkness
Behold your light has come

Our God is with us
And if God is with us
Who could stand against us?
Our God is with us

So what will be your answer?
Will you hear the call?
Of Him who did not spare His Son
But gave Him for us all
On earth there is no power
There is no depth or height
That could ever separate us
From the love of God in Christ

Our God is with us
And if God is with us
Who could stand against us?
Our God is with us

Our God is with us
And if God is with us
Who could stand against us?
Our God is with us


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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Great Gift Idea!

Read my review of this delightful book!


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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Hodgepodge is Always Worth Waiting For!

I always love the Wednesday Hodgepodge and I can't believe I missed the 200th edition last week! It is so hard to participate on the weeks I work on Tuesdays because I just don't have time to blog. But it's fun to be kicking off the 201st!

1. What is one new holiday tradition you'd like to establish, or one you've established recently, say in the last year or two?

In the last two or three years we have minimized gifts within our family and used the money to bless others.

2. It's the second week of December. Have you sipped a cup of eggnog yet this month? Wrapped a gift? Opened a gift? Kissed someone under the mistletoe? Lit a candle? Eaten a Christmas cookie? Seen Santa in person? Watched a Christmas movie or special? Read scripture relating to the birth of Jesus?

So far my December has consisted of working and those lovely "-oscopies" that come with aging. I have enjoyed some lovely Christmas music which has caused me to pause, reflect, and worship.

3. Do you think it's better to be an adult or a child at Christmastime? Explain.

An adult with children. 'Tis better to give than to receive, and it's such fun to see it through their eyes!

4. It's often said, 'Good things come to those who wait'...agree or disagree? Why?

Disagree, as a general rule. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. In fact, it brings to mind Hebrews 11, often referred to as the "Faith Hall of Fame" when it concludes by saying,
These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. (Hebrews 11:39

Sometimes the "good" doesn't come until eternity.

I prefer the flip side of that statement: "Good things are worth waiting for."

5. What's the last sweet thing you baked? Did you keep it, take it to a party/event, or give it away?

I baked cookies for Thanksgiving and took them to Houston for my family to eat during the long weekend.

6. This question comes to us courtesy of Jhona who blogs over at The Red House at the End of the Lane. Everyone hop over and say hi to Jhona this week! Here is her question... "I heard an actor talk about how he makes a conscious choice to talk to people in elevators. He chooses to connect, make eye contact, and converse. Do you talk to people/strangers when you're in an elevator or any other place where you might have to wait together? Why or why not?"

Not in elevators. I pretty much respect the unwritten rule of "no eye contact, no conversation." LOL I'll occasionally speak to a stranger in other situations but it goes against my introverted nature to do so.

This question reminds me of my college days when a friend did an assignment for Psychology 101 where she had to break some of those "unwritten rules" - talk (or face the back) in an elevator, invade someone's personal space by not leaving the empty chair between them at the library table, etc. The folks on the other end of her "experiment" were not amused! LOL

7. Are you on the naughty or nice list this year? What put you there?

Nice. Because God's grace has forgiven all of my naughty.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I'm curious: what do you put in your college/early twenty-something guy's stocking?


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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Watch for the Light

Watch for the Light
Readings for Advent and Christmas

By Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Annie Dillard,
Thomas Merton, Kathleen Norris, C. S. Lewis,
Henri Nouwen, and others
(Plough Publishing)
ISBN: 978-0874869170
September 2014/344 pages/Hardcover/$24.00

Though Christians the world over make yearly preparations for Lent, there’s a conspicuous lack of good books for that other great spiritual season: Advent. All the same, this four-week period leading up to Christmas is making a comeback as growing numbers reject shopping-mall frenzy and examine the deeper meaning of the season.

Ecumenical in scope, these fifty devotions invite the reader to contemplate the great themes of Christmas and the significance that the coming of Jesus has for each of us – not only during Advent, but every day. Whether sampled at leisure or used on a daily basis, Watch for the Light gives the phrase “holiday preparations” new depth and meaning.

Includes writings by John Donne, Meister Eckhart, Dorothy Day, T. S. Eliot, Gustavo Gutiérrez, Eberhard Arnold, G. M. Hopkins, Martin Luther, Edith Stein, Thomas Aquinas, Dorothee Soelle, Philip Yancey, and others.

It's hard to go wrong with 40 essays and poems from theological writers such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Dorothy Day, Madeleine L'Engle, Martin Luther, Kathleen Norris, Henri Nouwen, Philip Yancey, Karl Barth and Síren Kierkegaard. These are not frivolous, feel-good Advent readings; they are deep, sometimes jarring reflections, many with a strong orientation toward social justice… This collection, born of obvious passion and graced with superb writing, is a welcome even necessary addition to the glutted holiday bookshelves. (Publishers Weekly, starred review)


We often give lip service to "the reason for the season" but fail to fully appreciate the deep significance of Christmas. This book will cause you to pause, reflect during these holy days. Written by some of the hallmark theological authors, these are not a breezy read but ones to soak in and contemplate. Some are brief--a page or two--while others are a bit lengthier. (Having recently received the book, I haven't had the time to read every devotion so as always, hold what you read against the plumb line of scripture.) Even though we are well into December, it is not too late to benefit from this book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received an advanced copy of this book free from Handlebar Publicity 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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Thursday, December 4, 2014

ACFW New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Amish Romance:

Murder Tightly Knit (An Amish Village Mystery) by Vannetta Chapman -- As fall blankets the Pumpkinvine Trail with colorful leaves, a local Amish man is found dead on the path. For the federal investigator called in on the case, everyone is suspect. Even the Amish village knitting shop, The Cat's Meow, is implicated. Amber Bowman and Hannah Troyer know who isn't guilty-they know this community down to the last buggy, but can they find the guilty party before someone else is in danger? (Cozy Mystery from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Thomas Nelson & Zondervan])

Contemporary Romance:

Raspberry Kisses by Cecelia Dowdy -- Facing eviction, pastor's widow Rhea Morrison must save her failing bakery. Her recently-injured twin sister, Raven, loans her money on one condition. Rhea must attend a singles retreat to spy on Martin Lane, Raven's new love interest. Disgruntled, Rhea attends the retreat and is attracted to Martin. When he, a former successful bakery owner, formulates a plan to save her business, will she be forced to choose between her twin sister's love and a second chance at romance? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Wayward Hearts by Susan Anne Mason -- Hairstylist Maxi North is thriving in one of Manhattan's classiest salons. But her father's death puts her plans on hold while she travels home to face her past. There, she is forced to confront unrequited feelings for her former best friend, Jason Hanley, as well as her deeply buried guilt over her younger brother's death. When his friend, Maxi North, and her mother almost perish in a fire, firefighter-in-training Jason Hanley becomes involved in helping them re-build their farmhouse. Can he and Maxi ever put aside their differences to find a future together? (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

Deep Freeze Christmas by Marian P. Merritt -- Louisiana Chef Leona Buquet agrees to cook at a Colorado mountain lodge during the Christmas holiday, never expecting to be taken by the friendly and good-looking son of a movie producer. Trouble is, with glamorous actresses clamoring for his attention, why would he even notice Leona? Cameron Fleming struggles with a career he hates in order to please his famous father. Then he meets Leona and determines to get to know her. That is hard to do while dodging starlets...and the woman he wants is avoiding him. Can love sizzle, along with the Cajun dishes, in subzero temperatures? (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

Historical Romance:

Petticoat Detective (Undercover Ladies) by Margaret Brownley -- On the trail of the Gunnysack Bandit, Pinkerton Detective Jennifer Layne poses as a lady companion named Amy at Miss Lillian's Parlor House and Boots in Goodman, Kansas. Former Texas Ranger Tom Colton has every reason to distrust the green-eyed beauty at Miss Lillian's who calls herself Amy. Determined to clear his brother's name, he's convinced she knows more than she lets on, and he means to find out what it is. As Amy's investigation continues, her biggest problem is Tom and his stolen kiss. The closer she gets to nabbing the outlaw, the harder it is to keep Tom from finding out the awful truth about his brother. The Gunnysack Bandit she can handle, but it'll take a whole lot of faith and a little help from Miss Lillian and her girls to snag the man who stole her heart. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Her Honorable Enemy by Mary Davis -- For Charles Young, All's fair in love and war. The British soldier scorns the trappings of society life-including a society wife. So a posting in the remote San Juan Islands is perfect for him. But when an American girl crosses enemy lines, she turns his structured world upside down. As smart as she is fetching, Rachel Thompson's only experience with romance is the books she devours. But her father is determined that his spirited daughter make a suitable match. And a British officer could never be suitable. Can this real-life Romeo and Juliet triumph over the odds...or will their romance trigger the unthinkable-war? (Historical Romance from Heartsong Presents [Harlequin])

Love Unexpected (Beacons of Hope) by Jody Hedlund -- Stranded at Presque Isle port after her steamboat sank, Emma Chambers can't find work or even a place to stay. When a widowed lighthouse keeper and his young son arrive in town, a traveling preacher believes they might be the answer to each others' problems. After a hasty marriage, Emma is headed back to the lighthouse with this handsome but quiet stranger. Struggling with her new tasks of motherhood and domesticity at every turn, Emma also suspects Patrick may be keeping something hidden from her. In town she hears whispers about strange circumstances surrounding his previous wife's death, and it seems as though Emma's answered prayer for a home and family may actually be something much more dangerous. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker Publishing])

A Most Inconvenient Marriage by Regina Jennings -- Having fled a difficult home life, Civil War nurse Abigail Stuart feels like her only friend in the world is sweet but gravely wounded patient Jeremiah Calhoun. Left with few options and fearing he won't survive, Abigail agrees to marry the dying Confederate soldier, then look after his sickly sister and take ownership of his farm back home. Just when his sister learns to accept her, the real Jeremiah Calhoun appears, puzzled to find a confounding woman posing as his wife. Jeremiah is determined to have his pre-war life back, but his own wounds limit what he can do on his own. Not fully convinced Abigail isn't duping him, he's forced to let the woman stay and help him--not admitting to himself she may provide the healing his family needs. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker Publishing])

Read my review of A Most Inconvenient Marriage.

Colorado Dawn by Erica Vetsch -- Watch as God lights the way of love, despite the resolve of three Colorado men. A collapsing mine shaft made David Mackenzie blind and bitter, but Karen Worth will not give up on her unconditional love for him. Disillusioned by love, Sam Mackenzie reluctantly escorts a jobless and homeless Eldora Carter plus three orphans cross country. And just when that challenge seems too overwhelming, an avalanche descends. . . . Pastor Silas Hamilton falls for Willow Starr, an actress bound for New York City. But he's fairly sure the love between a pastor and an actress could never survive. . .could it? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Masterpiece Marriage by Gina Welborn -- After a flood damages the looms at Zenus Dane's Philadelphia textile mill and the bank demands loan payment, Zenus turns to his aunt for help repurposing his textiles. Trouble is . . . his aunt has already been hired by the lovely yet secretive Englishwoman Mary Varrs. Eager to acquire his aunt's quilt patterns, Zenus attends the summer Quilting Bee, a social event his aunt has uniquely designed with the secret purpose of finding Zenus a wife. However Zenus only has eyes for Mary, but Mary has no such desire for him. Can he realize that love requires stepping out of his routine? And will she recognize that following her heart doesn't mean sacrificing her ambition? (Historical Romance from Abingdon Press)

The Snowbound Bride by Davalynn Spencer -- On the run from a heartless uncle, Arabella Taube hides in Nate Horne's farm wagon just as a harsh winter storm sweeps into Colorado. Despite Ara's mysterious background, Nate's mother thinks she is the answer to a prayer and the hope for his future. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Historical Suspense:

Embers of Courage by Diane and David Munson -- ICE Special Agent Eva Montanna discovers the world is ablaze with danger when militants capture her task force teammate, NCIS Special Agent Raj Pentu, during a CIA operation in Egypt. She risks her life to defeat tyrants oppressing Christians, and is plunged into a daring rescue mission. Eva's faith is tested like never before as mysterious ashes, her ancient family Bible, and fifteenth century religious persecution collide with modern-day courage under fire. (Historical Suspense, Independently Published)

Romantic Suspense:

One Among Men by Connie Almony -- Samantha Hart is looking for purpose, like her missionary best friend, but is forced to take a job as a resident director of the all-male party dorm at the major state university where her prodigal past haunts her. Chris Johnson, a rock guitarist, has come back to school as a music major, and finds himself in a business relationship with the ruthless supplier of an on-campus drug ring. He's intrigued by the lady RD, while learning more about his musical gift and the God who gave it to him. Can he manage his two worlds without risking Samantha's life? (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)

Navy SEAL Noel by Liz Johnson -- Abducted by a drug cartel, scientist Jessalynn McCoy's orders are simple-produce a deadly toxin, or be killed. She's desperate for help...she just never expected it from Will Gumble. The boy who let her down years ago is now a navy SEAL. She trusts his skills, his experience. Trusting the man is a different matter. Will's Christmas wish is to heal their damaged relationship and get them to safety. But time is running out and the stakes keep rising. Any mistake could mean the difference between facing the holidays together or apart forever. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Read my review of Navy Seal Noel.

Women's Fiction:

Love Defined (Remnants) by Elizabeth Maddrey -- July (pronounced "Julie") and Gareth have reached the end of their infertility treatment options. With conflicting feelings on adoption, they struggle to discover common ground in their marriage. Meanwhile, July's twin sister, June, and her husband, Toby, are navigating the uncertainties of adoption and the challenges of new parenthood. How much stretching can their relationships endure before they snap? (Women's Fiction from HopeSprings Books)


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Monday, December 1, 2014

Navy Seal Noel

Navy Seal Noel
(Men of Valor)
Liz Johnson
(Love Inspired Suspense)
ISBN: 978-0373446391
December 2014/224 pages/$5.99


Abducted by a drug cartel, scientist Jessalynn McCoy's orders are simple—produce a deadly toxin, or be killed. Trapped with no options, she's desperate for help…she just never expected it from Will Gumble. The boy who let her down years ago is now a navy SEAL. She trusts his skills, his experience. Yet trusting him is a struggle. Will's Christmas wish is to heal their damaged relationship and get them to safety. But time is running out and the stakes keep rising. Any mistake could mean the difference between facing the holidays together or apart forever.

Men of Valor: These navy SEALS were born to excel…

Read an excerpt.


By day, Liz Johnson is a marketing manager for a Christian publisher. She finds time to write late at night and is a two-time ACFW Carol Award finalist. Liz makes her home in Nashville, TN, where she enjoys theater, exploring local music, and making frequent trips to Arizona to dote on her nieces and nephews. She loves stories of true love with happy endings and blogs about her adventures in writing at www.LizJohnsonBooks.com.


I read few Love Inspired novels because they are simply too short--and often too predictable--for me, but I always make sure to read the ones that Liz Johnson writes! She packs a lot into her stories and keeps me turning pages as quickly as I can, keeping me intrigued by the plot and enamored with the characters. The danger and suspense, including the chilling inclusion of a drug cartel keeps this Christmas-themed book from being overly sentimental. A great stocking stuffer or one to tuck in your bag when you need to escape the busyness of the season, Navy Seal Noel is the perfect holiday read!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received an advanced copy of this book free from Liz Johnson and Love Inspired Suspense 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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