Monday, August 31, 2015

Bathsheba: Reluctant Beauty

Bathsheba: Reluctant Beauty
A Dangerous Beauty Novel
Angela Hunt
(Bethany House)
ISBN: 978-0764216961
August 2015/384 pages/$14.99

One of Ancient Israel's Most Famous Women--
As You've Never Looked at Her Before

One of the Bible's most misunderstood and misjudged women, Bathsheba comes to life in this new biblical reimagining from Angela Hunt. Combining historical facts with detailed fiction, this is an eye-opening portrait that will have you reconsidering everything you thought you knew about her.

After receiving God's promise of a lifelong reign and an eternal dynasty, King David forces himself on Bathsheba, a loyal soldier's wife. When her resulting pregnancy forces the king to murder her husband and add her to his harem, Bathsheba struggles to protect her son while dealing with the effects of a dark prophecy and deadly curse on the king's household.

Read an excerpt.


The author of more than 100 published books and with nearly 5 million copies of her books sold worldwide, Angela Hunt is the New York Times bestselling author of The Note, The Nativity Story, and Esther: Royal Beauty. Romantic Times Book Club presented Angela with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. In 2008, Angela completed her PhD in biblical studies in theology. She and her husband live in Florida with their mastiffs. She can be found online at


I've often said that I normally give Biblical fiction a wide berth, but if it's written by Angela Hunt, I know it is steeped in research and Biblical truth. The first of her Dangerous Beauty novels, Esther: Royal Beauty, captivated me (my review is here), and I was intrigued by the concept of tob beauty as Angela Hunt explained it when I interviewed her last summer. This new novel is just as compelling. Much of the story of David and Bathsheba in the Bible focuses on David, and Hunt's portrayal of Bathsheba's persepective fascinated me. Bathsheba and Uriah's deep love for one another and Uriah's steadfast loyalty to the king he served make David's actions even more reprehensible. Hunt's commitment to accuracy combines with her gift of story as she depicts Bathsheba's life before and after she entered palace life. I ached for Bathsheba as she was plucked from her home in the midst of her grief and placed among the unwelcoming concubines and wives. Her strength and reliance on HaShem and his promises inspired and reminded me of God's sovereignty and ability to redeem the worst of man's sins. Angela Hunt remains firmly among the top five of my must-read author list, and I can't wait to read the final novel about Delilah, coming in 2016! Don't miss Bathsheba: Reluctant Beauty.

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

Enjoy this mini-interview with the author, provided by the publisher:


1. Biblical fiction readers always want to know how much of the novel is true and how much is fiction. How much did you have to invent for Bathsheba: Reluctant Beauty?
Not much. In my biblical fiction—in all my historical fiction, really—I take pains never to contradict the historical record. And since the Bible is the alpha historical record, I took great pains not to contradict anything in it. Example: I didn’t realize that Bathsheba had three other sons until my third or fourth draft, so I had to go back and write them in! It would have been easier to simply focus on David, Bathsheba, and Solomon, but that wouldn’t have been accurate.

Scripture doesn’t tell us much about Bathsheba, but it tells us a great deal about David, Solomon, Ahithophel, and all the other players, so it wasn’t difficult to put all the pieces together and then imagine what Bathsheba must have been feeling and doing in those situations. It’s a fascinating story when you consider what life in David’s palace must have been like.

2. Readers have noticed that you always include a bibliography at the end of your historical novels. Why?
Because it’s so easy for readers to assume that I simply made things up. I started my career as a nonfiction writer, so everything I write is based in reality (probably why I don’t write fantasy). Novels may not be actual, but I believe they should deal with facts and truths. The “fictional” parts that I have to create have their roots in facts, logic, and probabilities.

3. What sort of historical novels do you like to read?
All of them! I haven’t yet found a time period that didn’t interest me. The only books that don’t interest me are those in which too much is “made up.” I would never use a novel for research, but as a writer, I want to believe that other writers did the necessary homework.

4. Which do you like better, writing historicals or writing contemporary novels?
I have to say that I don’t have a preference. All of my novels have required research of some sort (I love research!), because my contemporaries are usually about something interesting—to me, anyway. The two genres require exercising different creative muscles, so I enjoy mixing them up. After a few historicals, I yearn to write contemporary; after a few contemporaries, I’m ready to go back into history again. (And when I’m tired of writing, I pick up my camera!)

5. Is there a genre you haven’t tried yet but would like to tackle?
YES! Time travel. I’m itching to write a time-travel novel or maybe a series.


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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Endearing Hodgepodge

It's always fun to join Joyce for the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Come join the fun!

1. It's hard to believe, but next week's Hodgepodge will find us in the month of September. What's one thing you want, need, or hope to do still before summer officially ends?

Well, here in Texas, summer weather certainly doesn't end when September starts! But embarrassingly enough, I still have one more high school graduation gift to pop in the mail this week.

2. When were you last at 'your wit's end'?

Oh, that happens on a regular basis at work! LOL

3. Describe a time you were figuratively thrown into 'the deep end'?

Can I answer every question with "at work"?!

4. Does the end always, ever, or never justify the means? Explain.

In terms of ethics and moral situations, no. Remember the guy in the Old Testament who died because he touched the Ark of the Covenant to keep it from falling off the cart? Some would say it was unfair that he died because keeping the holy Ark from falling justified the sin of touching it. But disobedience is disobedience, and the first sin was the Ark being on the cart in the first place. And how about Saul trying to explain away his disobedience with a sacrifice, when he usurped the role of the priest and violated the tabarnacle? God told him, "To obey is better than sacrifice."

Unfortunately, we have become a society where the immediate overshadows the long-term and the many hues of gray have become the rule.

5. What makes your hair stand on end?

Fingernails on a chalkboard. Noisy chewing/smacking.

6. I read an article on the website Eat This! Health, that listed 11 foods we can eat to help end bad moods. Basically it's a feed your brain so you're less anxious, grouchy and lethargic. The foods are-mussels, swiss chard, blue potatoes, grass fed beef, dark chocolate, greek yogurt, asparagus, honey, cherry tomatoes, eggs, and coconut. Which of those do you think would most help end your own bad mood? Which do you fear, if forced to eat, would put you into a bad mood?

Please pass the dark chocolate. But the mussels, swiss chard, and blue potatoes almost made me stop reading the list. Blech!

7. What project around your home, office, or life in general feels like there is 'no end in sight'?

Organizing of the stuff.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

The end of this month is a happy, happy time. Blue Bell will be back in our stores here in Central Texas on Monday! The rest of the region who has been without it will have to wait a little longer. And for those of you who never have Blue Bell--well, maybe this is one time where whatever you have to do to get some is absolutely justified! LOL


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Thursday, August 20, 2015

For the Love

For the Love:
Fighting For Grace
In A World Of Impossible Standards

Jen Hatmaker
(Thomas Nelson)
ISBN: 978-0718031824
August 2015/224 pages/Hardcover/$22.99

Best-selling author Jen Hatmaker is convinced life can be lovely and fun and courageous and kind. She knows how the squeeze of this life can make us competitive and judgmental, how we can lose love for others and then for ourselves. She reveals how to:

  • Break free of guilt and shame by dismantling the unattainable Pinterest life.
  • Learn to engage our culture’s controversial issues with a grace-first approach.
  • Be liberated to love and release the burden of always being right.
  • Identify the tools you already have to develop real-life, all-in, know-my-junk-but-love-me-anyway friendships.
  • Escape our impossible standards for parenting and marriage by accepting the standard of “mostly good.”
  • Laugh your butt off.

In this raucous ride to freedom for modern women, Jen Hatmaker bares the refreshing wisdom, wry humor, no-nonsense faith, liberating insight, and fearless honesty that have made her beloved by women worldwide.


Jen Hatmaker is a mom to five children, a pastor’s wife, sought-after speaker, best-selling author and star of the popular series "My Big Family Renovation" on HGTV. She is best known for her books 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess and Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity. For more information, visit


Maybe it's residual from my junior high days of not being part of the cool crowd, but I tend to resist jumping on bandwagons and following the latest popular speaker/blogger/author/you-name-it. I'm also very selective about the non-fiction books that I read. However, I had heard enough about Jen Hatmaker's new release to intrigue me, so I took the opportunity offered by the publisher to review it. I'm so glad I did. Yes, her writing is down-to-earth, authentic, and at times laugh-out-loud funny. But she also is absolutely spot-on about some very important and serious matters and communicates them in an engaging yet convincing manner. As the sister of a former career missionary, I wanted to cheer and highlight the entire twenty-first chapter, Poverty Tourism, about short-term missions. I also loved her "on the beam" and "off the beam" analogy for women to prevent themselves from becoming overloaded with expectations and commitments. And her thoughts on American theology--and testing a belief by asking if it is as true for a poor Christian mom in Haiti as it is for us--made me say amen! ("Theology is either true everywhere or it isn't true anywhere. This helps untangle us from the American God narrative....because sometimes my portrayal of God's ways sounds suspiciously like the American Dream and I had better check myself." ch. 3, pg. 19) For the Love is both a quick read and one to slow down, savor, and ponder. Don't miss it!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a digital copy of this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers. 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, August 19, 2015

Back to School with the Hodgepodge

School bells are ringing at Joyce's blog for this week's edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge!

1. Way back when (the Hodgepodge bicentennial to be precise) several of you submitted questions as part of a giveaway I was hosting. I went back to that list for inspiration today and found a question submitted by Marla, who blogs over at Marla's Musings. Thanks Marla!

She asks-At what age did you feel like a 'grown-up'? What keeps you young now?

When I graduated from college and bought my own furniture and a washer and dryer.

2. When did you last buy a vehicle? Was this by design or because you had no other option? Was the car/truck purchased for your own personal use or was it bought for someone else to drive? On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being delightful and 1 being 'pass the Excedrin') how would you rate the experience?

We bought a car a couple of years ago for our girl to take to college. It was about an 8.

3. Corn bread, corn chips, corn pudding, corn on the cob, cornflakes, corn chowder-your favorite of the corn-y foods listed? What needs to be served alongside your selection?

In winter, it's corn bread (with chili or stew) but in summer, it's roasted corn on the cob with plenty of butter and salt! I love to roast it on the grill with burgers.

4. What's something in your life that regularly requires you to 'put your thinking cap on'?

Work--putting the orders in the computer and paying attention to all of the medications.

5. Share a favorite movie set in a school or classroom, or whose theme relates to school days in some way.


6. Reading, writing, and 'rithmetic' are commonly referred to as the three R's. What are the three R's in your life right now?

Rehab (my job), recovery (from work!), and reading!

7. What's something you've learned or tried recently you can say was as 'easy as ABC'?

Hypodermoclysis, which is subcutaneous IV's.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

My girl left for college on Monday, 36 hours after my boy got home from his summer intern job. We had one wonderful day together as a family on Sunday. Ah, the kids-in-college years, when your house is a hotel! LOL


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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Expert Witness

Expert Witness
Rachel Dylan
(Harlequin/Love Inspired Suspense)
ISBN: 978-0373446957
September 2015/224 pages/$5.99


Minutes after testifying in a murder trial, sketch artist Sydney Berry is almost killed in a drive-by shooting. United States Marshal Max Preston saves her life then whisks her away to safety. She's his first protected witness, and he'll do everything in his power to keep her safe. But Sydney doesn't want to hide from danger. She is determined to finish her testimony and put a killer away. With potential suspects coming from all corners, Sydney will have to trust Max with her deepest secrets—and her life.

Read an excerpt.


Rachel Dylan writes inspirational romantic suspense. She loves animals and is active in animal rescue. She enjoys adding adorable pets to her stories. She lives in Georgia with her husband and five furkids—two dogs and three cats. Learn more at her website,


I have enjoyed a number of books in Harlequin's Love Inspired Suspense line as a quick read, so when I was asked to review this one, I was intrigued, even though I wasn't familiar with this fairly new author. Expert Witness ranks as one of the best in its class. Rachel Dylan plunges the reader into the drama of the story almost immediately, and doesn't let up until the final pages. I read with my heart in my throat and couldn't put it down as the danger and suspense escalate with each chapter. This is a solid offering from an author to watch. I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a digital copy of this book free from Rachel Dylan. 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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Monday, August 17, 2015

A Heart's Home - and Conversations with Colleen Coble Giveaway!

A Heart's Home
(A Journey of the Heart, Book 6)
Colleen Coble
(Thomas Nelson)
ISBN: 978-0718031695
August 2015/112 pages/$6.99

Emmie’s hope for a life with Isaac is overshadowed by a tragic loss at Fort Phil Kearny.

Isaac Liddle is keen to marry Emmie, and she knows she shouldn’t hide her pregnancy from him any longer. But before she can tell him her secret, a widower friend asks the impossible of Emmie: Will she honor her promise to his dead wife by marrying him to care for the orphaned baby?

With the Sioux Wars threatening outside the fort, Emmie’s solemn vow threatens her happiness from within. Will she honor a promise sure to break her heart—and Isaac’s? Or is there another way to find a home for her heart?


USA Today bestselling author Colleen Coble has written several romantic suspense novels including Tidewater Inn, Rosemary Cottage, and the Mercy Falls, Lonestar, and Rock Harbor series. Find out more about Colleen at her website.


Colleen Coble brings her six-book novella series to a satisfying conclusion with A Heart's Home. While I enjoyed all the books, the second half of this series was my favorite, and Emmie's situation touched my heart. Coble skillfully portrays the many difficulties and dangers of life on the fort amidst the constant threat from the Sioux, and the constant shadow of death is a sobering reminder of the harsh lives the early settlers experienced, when desperate situations threaten life and love. Don't miss this book and this series.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers and Litfuse Publicity 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.”

Click the titles for my reviews of the previous novellas in this serial:

A Heart's Disguise (Book 1)
A Heart's Obsession (Book 2)
A Heart's Danger (Book 3)
A Heart's Betrayal (Book 4)
A Heart's Promise (Book 5)

A hidden pregnancy, a promise sure to break hearts, and a tragic loss at Fort Phil Kearny: Don't miss the gripping conclusion in book six, A Heart's Home, of Colleen Coble's A Journey of the Heart series. With the Sioux Wars threatening outside the fort, Emmie’s solemn vow threatens her happiness from within. Will she honor a promise sure to break her heart—and Isaac’s? Or is there another way to find a home for her heart?

Colleen is celebrating the final book release of her A Journey of the Heart series by giving away the entire series and the chance to host Colleen virtually at your book club, local library, or women's group to talk about the series.


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • Books 1–6 of A Journey of the Heart series
  • A chat with Colleen via Skype or Google Hangout
  • A custom book-club kit PDF, featuring Colleen's favorite recipes and group discussion questions
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 31st. Winner will be announced September 1st on Colleen's website.



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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Not By Sight

Not by Sight
Kate Breslin
(Bethany House Publishers)
ISBN: 978-0764211614
July 2015/384 pages/$14.99

"Downton Abbey meets The Scarlet Pimpernel in Kate Breslin's wonderful historical novel set amidst the drama of England's World War I home front."--award-winning author Elizabeth Camden

In the spring of 1917, all of Britain's attention is on the WWI war front and the thousands of young men serving their country on the front lines. Jack Benningham, dashing heir to the Earl of Stonebrooke, is young and able-bodied but refuses to enlist despite the contempt of his peers.

A wealthy young suffragette, Grace Mabry will do anything to assist her country's cause. Men like Jack infuriate her when she thinks of her own brother fighting in the trenches of France, so she has no reservations about handing him a white feather of cowardice at a posh masquerade ball.

But Grace could not anticipate the danger and betrayal set into motion by her actions, and soon she and Jack are forced to learn the true meaning of courage when the war raging overseas suddenly strikes much closer to home and their fervent beliefs become a matter of life and death.

Read an excerpt


A Florida girl who migrated to the Pacific Northwest, Kate Breslin was a bookseller for many years. She is the author of For Such a Time and lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington. Find her online at


I missed Kate Breslin's first novel, but after reading Not by Sight, she is now on my list of authors to watch. Plenty of drama fills this book set in England during World War I, and I was drawn into the story from the opening pages. Wealthy and privileged Grace Mabry and Jack Benningham learn that their backgrounds do not shield them from the realities they face during this tumultuous time. Breslin has created multi-dimensional characters who leap off the page, in addition to brilliant dialogue, as Grace and Jack are each thrust into new and challenging circumstances. Intrigue and the threat of espionage add to this page-turner that kept me up into the wee hours. Don't miss Not by Sight; highly recommended!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a digital copy of this book free from Bethany House Publishing/Baker Books. 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.”


1. Your first novel, For Such a Time, takes place during WWII. What made you turn the clock backward to WWI when writing Not by Sight?
Can I just say that I love Downton Abbey? I was watching Season 3 at the time I got the story idea for Not by Sight. After I did a bit of research, I realized there was much going on during that war and I was ready to visit new horizons. I also happen to love just about any historical fiction novel set in England.

2. How was writing your second novel distinctly different from writing the first?
For Such a Time was a biblical retelling of the book of Esther and I had prompts in the form of verses from that book to guide me, more or less, in setting up the scenes for the story. With Not by Sight, I was entirely dependent on my imagination. I also had the luxury of time with my debut novel, whereas I had a deadline for the second. I learned how to do research in a hurry! Luckily, the Internet has come a long way since my first book, and finding the facts I needed wasn’t as time-consuming as it had been previously.

3. What do you want readers to come away with after reading Not by Sight?
Aside from simply enjoying the story, it’s my wish they find hope in the pages, a reminder that redemption is always within reach, and that we can’t let what’s happening in the world affect our relationship with God. The earth is full of good people and random acts of kindness; it’s only that the media doesn’t always deem it newsworthy, so we don’t often hear about it. Today, especially, we are all globally connected and it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of information being tossed at us. We must remember to live by our faith and our hearts, and not necessarily by what we see (or hear).

I also find it amusing that when I choose a topic to write about, like Grace’s habit of prejudging others, I become acutely aware of my own shortcomings. I would just say that it never hurts to imagine walking in someone else’s shoes before making a decision about them.

4. What does your writing day look like?
I’m usually upstairs in my library loft by 9:30 a.m. After checking email, I resume from whatever point I left off with my story—researching, plotting, or writing pages. Mornings are best for me, when I’m freshest, and I work several hours each day, Monday through Friday, with weekends off unless I’m on deadline. My cat, Coco, usually comes upstairs and stands in front of my computer monitor until I leave the “zone” and drift out of my brain fog to go and feed her. It’s always a good time to take a break anyway, and it beats having to set a timer. In the afternoons, I usually take a two-mile walk near my house, which not only gives my eyes a break, but the exercise is crucial to my sit-down occupation. I find walking is also great for untangling those knots in my plots!

5. What’s up next for you?
Currently, I’m working on my third novel for Bethany House, another historical romance set during WWI. I’ve really found this time period rich with history, and there is so much I still want to explore. I had fun, too, with the intrigue in Not by Sight and plan to continue with more in the next book.


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Monday, August 10, 2015

Through Waters Deep

Through Waters Deep
(Waves of Freedom, Book 1)
Sarah Sundin
ISBN: 978-0800723422
August 2015/384 pages/$14.99

It is 1941 and America teeters on the brink of war.

Outgoing naval officer Ensign Jim Avery escorts British convoys across the North Atlantic in a brand-new destroyer, the USS Atwood. Back on shore, Boston Navy Yard secretary Mary Stirling does her work quietly and efficiently, happy to be out of the limelight. Yet, despite her reserved nature, she never could back down from a challenge. When evidence of sabotage on the Atwood is found, Jim and Mary must work together to uncover the culprit. A bewildering maze of suspects emerges, and Mary is dismayed to find that even someone close to her is under suspicion. With the increasing pressure, Jim and Mary find that many new challenges–and dangers–await them.

Sarah Sundin takes readers to the tense months before the US entered WWII. Readers will encounter German U-boats and torpedoes, along with the explosive power of true love, in this hopeful and romantic story.


Sarah Sundin is the author of With Every Letter, On Distant Shores, In Perfect Time, and the Wings of Glory series. In 2014, On Distant Shores was a finalist for the Golden Scroll Awards from both AWSA and the Christian Authors Network. In 2011, Sarah received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. A graduate of UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, she works on call as a hospital pharmacist. During WWII, her grandfather served as a pharmacist’s mate (medic) in the Navy and her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force in England. Sarah lives in California with her husband and three children. Find out more about Sarah at


Sarah Sundin kicks off a new series set in WWII with Through Waters Deep and once again, she has written a tale that kept me glued to the pages. Engaging characters dealt with authentic issues: Mary as she struggled to balance her mother's strict and legalistic teachings about staying out of the limelight with the need to be bold in presenting information regarding possible saboteurs in the Navy Yard, and Jim as he walks a fine line between "going with the flow" and being a pushover. Suspense and sabotage added some hold-your-breath moments as the story progressed and reached its heart-pounding climax. I'm already looking forward to the next novel in this series

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Revell/Baker Publishing and Litfuse Publicity 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.”

Dive into Sarah Sundin's explosive new series, Waves of Freedom, with book one, Through Waters DeepWhen evidence of sabotage on the Atwood is found, Jim and Mary must work together to uncover the culprit. A bewildering maze of suspects emerges, and Mary is dismayed to find that even someone close to her is under suspicion. With the increasing pressure, Jim and Mary find that many new challenges–and dangers–await them in the midst of their budding romance.

Join Sarah in celebrating the release of Through Waters Deep by entering to win an Anchors Aweigh prize pack!


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of Through Waters Deep
  • A nautical tote bag
  • A set of compass rose notecards
  • A "Hope Anchors the Soul" journal
  • A Boston Tea Party earl grey tea set
  • Through Waters Deep apron
  • A set of nautical tea towels

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 24th. The winner will be announced August 25th on Sarah's blog.



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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Among the Fair Magnolias

Among the Fair Magnolias
Four Southern Love Stories
Tamera Alexander, Shelley Gray,
Dorothy Love, Elizabeth Musser
(Thomas Nelson/TNZ Fiction)
ISBN: 978-1401690731
July 2015/384 pages/$12.99

In the most turbulent decade of our nation’s history, four Southern women—destinies forged by birth, hearts steeled by war—face near impossible choices on their journeys in life . . . and in love.

To Mend a Dream by Tamera Alexander
Savannah Darby would do almost anything to revisit her family home. So when new owner, Aidan Bedford, a Boston attorney and former Union soldier, seeks to redecorate the house for his fiancée, Savannah jumps at the opportunity. But the clock is ticking. Can she find the box her father supposedly hid there during the war before her assignment is completed? And before she sees yet another battle lost on the home front. This time, one of the heart.

An Outlaw’s Heart by Shelley Gray
When Russell Stark returns to Fort Worth, he’s determined to begin a new life. But when he arrives at his mother’s homestead, he discovers she’s very ill, and the woman he loved is still as beautiful and sweet as he remembered. With time running out, Russell must come to terms with both his future and his past.

A Heart So True by Dorothy Love
Abigail knows all too well what is expected of her: to marry her distant cousin Charles and take her place in society. But her heart belongs to another. A terrible incident forces Abby to choose between love and duty.

Love Beyond Limits by Elizabeth Musser
Emily has a secret: She’s in love with one of the freedmen on her family’s plantation. Meanwhile, another man declares his love for her. Emily realizes some things are not as they seem and secrets must be kept in order to keep those she loves safe.

Click here to read the Fair Magnolia Treasury, bonus content from each author!


Tamera Alexander is the best-selling author of numerous books including A Lasting Impression and The Inheritance. Tamera is a two-time Christy Award winner, two-time RITA winner, and a recipient of the prestigious Library Journal Award.

A native of west Tennessee, Dorothy Love makes her home in the Texas hill country with her husband and their golden retriever. An award-winning author of numerous young adult novels, Dorothy made her adult debut with the Hickory Ridge novels.

Shelley Gray is the author of The Heart of a Hero series. Her Amish novel (written as Shelley Shepard Gray), The Protector, recently made the New York Times best seller list.

Elizabeth Musser, a native of Atlanta, Georgia now living in France, is a novelist who writes what she calls ‘entertainment with a soul.’ For over 25 years, Elizabeth and her husband, Paul, have been involved in mission work with International Teams.

Find out more about Alexander, Gray, Love, Musser at


I have eagerly been anticipating this book's release ever since it was announced, and I was not disappointed. As Southern as sweet tea and porch swings, this charming set of historical romance novellas is the perfect summer read. Tamera Alexander's To Mend a Dream tells the story of Savannah Darby, a secondary character from her novel To Win Her Favor, and as always, Alexander weaves a beautiful message of faith throughout this tender tale. Shelley Gray sets her novella in Texas, where her Heart of a Hero series took place several years ago. Russell Stark learns that An Outlaw's Heart is not beyond God's grace in this compelling story. The author that I was the least familiar with of the four, Dorothy Love captivated me with A Heart So True and the story of Abigail, who is caught between love and duty, and I'll be watching for more from this author. Elizabeth Musser's Love Beyond Limits was heart-wrenching and kept me eagerly turning pages. I'm rarely caught completely by surprise in a novel but this one took a turn I didn't expect. Four Southern authors, four delightful novellas. . . .and four delicious recipes included at the end, one from each of these talented ladies. Don't miss Among the Fair Magnolias!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Thomas Nelson and Litfuse Publicity 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.”

Four best-selling novelists bring tales of four Southern women who face near impossible choices on their journeys in life and in love during the most turbulent decade of our nation’s history in Among the Fair MagnoliasDon't miss this collection of stories from Tamera Alexander, Shelley Gray, Dorothy Love, and Elizabeth Musser.

Join the authors in celebrating the release of Among the Fair Magnolias by entering to win their Southern Hearts Kindle Fire Giveaway and RSVPing to their August 13th author chat party!


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HD 6
  • One copy of Among the Fair Magnolias
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 8/13. The winner will be announced at the Among the Fair Magnolias Facebook party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Tamera, Dorothy, Shelley, and Elizabeth, as well as for a chance to win some great prizes!


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Monday, August 3, 2015

ACFW August New Releases

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

Contemporary Romance:

Be My Valentino by Sandra D. Bricker -- Now that the whole truth has come out about her husband's double life-including the fact that she and Jack were never legally married-Jessie is standing on her own for the first time in her life. As she struggles to put Adornments, her rental store for designer labels, on the map in Tinsel Town, her relationship with private investigator Danny Callahan gains momentum. Can Jessie afford to put her faith-and heart-into another relationship when she's so obviously handicapped in the good judgment department? (Contemporary Romance from Abingdon Press)

One More Wish by Robin Jones Gunn -- As Christy blows out the 26 candles on her birthday cake, she closes her eyes and makes a wish. Could this be the year that she and Todd finally have a baby? As her closest friends announce they are expecting, Christy's heart carries an ache for a child of her own. On their way home from Sierra's wedding, Todd opens up the discussion of adoption and soon a simple invitation turns into a life-changing season. Christy's patience and understanding are stretched beyond her limits, and she finds herself holding not just one baby in her arms, but two. Everything Christy and Todd thought about family and hospitality shifts as the two of them dare to make one more wish and believe that God's timing is flawless. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Island Dreams by Kimberly Rose Johnson -- When a land developer comes to Wildflower Island Chase fights to keep the island the way it is. But there is a problem, he's falling for the developer and if he stops her, he may never see her again. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Unexpected Family by Jill Kemerer -- After five years apart, Tom Sheffield is shocked to find his ex-wife, Stephanie, on his doorstep. The news that they share a child he's never met sends him reeling. Four-year-old Macy has his eyes, his mouth and, from their first encounter, his heart. Things with her mother are much more complicated. He doesn't understand what went wrong between them or why she kept their daughter a secret. And he's afraid of falling in love all over again. Yet he feels a glimmer of hope that somehow he can convince Macy and Stephanie to stay in Lake Endwell-and with him-for keeps. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Historical Romance:

Stealing Jake by Pam Hillman -- She used to be known as Light-fingered Livy. But that was before she put her past behind her and moved to the growing town of Chestnut, Illinois, where she's helping to run an orphanage. Now she'll do almost anything to protect the street kids like herself. Sheriff's deputy Jake Russell had no idea what he was in for when he ran into Livy--literally--while chasing down a pickpocket. With a rash of robberies and a growing number of street kids in town--as well as a loan on the family farm that needs to be paid off--Jake doesn't have time to pursue a girl. Still, he can't seem to get Livy out of his mind. He wants to get to know her better . . . but Livy isn't willing to trust any man, especially not a lawman. (Historical Romance from Tyndale House)

Through Waters Deep by Sarah Sundin -- In 1941, as America teeters on the brink of World War II, Mary Stirling works at the Boston Navy Yard and renews an old friendship with naval officer Ens. Jim Avery. Jim's destroyer escorts British convoys across the North Atlantic, but problems on his ship point to a saboteur at the shipyard. As Mary works to find the culprit and Jim battles U-boats, could their friendship blossom into something more? Or could the dangers they face keep them apart? (Historical Romance from Revell - A Division of Baker Publishing Group)

12 Brides of Summer, Novella Collection #3 by Margaret Brownley, Miralee Ferrell, and Pam Hillman -- Love Is Buzzing in the Good Old Summertime! Spend the sunny days of summer relaxing with an ice cold glass of lemonade and revel in the dreams of twelve brides who are a bit surprised by how the men of their dreams come into their lives. Journey to the Old West, stay on the prairie, and visit quaint small towns. . .without leaving the comfort of your own front porch with the third release in this collection. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Romantic Suspense:

Smokescreen by Jodie Bailey -- When her life is on the line, Ashley Colson is rescued by the last person she ever expected to see again. Military officer Ethan Kincaid might have disappointed her once in the past, but now he's the only person who can keep her safe. They're under the gun to decode top secret files that can save the life of a friend who is in enemy hands. But the killers will pull out all the stops to get their hands on the files...and Ashley. With time running out, can they put aside their past and find the answers that could give them a future? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


Midnight on the Mississippi by Mary Ellis -- As a newly minted PI and a New Orleans stockbroker encounter sophisticated shell games, blackmail and death threats, danger swirls around them like the mysterious black water of the bayou. (Mystery/Crime from Harvest House Publishers)

The Bones will Speak by Carrie Stuart Parks -- A killer with a penchant for torture has taken notice of forensics expert Gwen Marcey . . . and her daughter. (Suspense/Thriller from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Thomas Nelson and Zondervan])
Speculative Fiction:

Take and Give by Amanda G. Stevens -- To escape the oppressive Constabulary and gain freedom in a newly formed country, four people must embark on a road trip fraught with danger and distrust. (Speculative Fiction from David C. Cook)
Young Adult:

A Perilous Assignment by JC Morrows -- The Order of the Moonstone is not just another shadowy underground resistance operation. They have a much more sinister purpose. Kayden is about to find out just how sinister. Go back to the very beginning with us... see how Kayden was chosen for her most important and most dangerous assignment yet. (Young Adult, Independently Published)


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