Romance

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Too Far Down by Mary Connealy



MY REVIEW:

Like the old saying, this book started off with a bang – in fact with several of them! Explosions set at the Boden’s mining company leave several miners dead and adds another attack against their family to a growing list. Cole Boden and his siblings may be a bit closer to figuring out who wants the entire family dead but questions still remain.

Although there are touches of Connealy’s trademark humor in “Too Far Down”, I found the entire series to be somewhat more serious than previous ones. That did not hinder my enjoyment one little bit though. The author’s mastery of words and wonderful imagination are very evident throughout the story and I personally love the growing mystery and suspense that were present in this series. Plenty of action and danger keep things jumping and my pages turning. It was fun witnessing the interaction between Cole and longtime family friend Melanie Blake, knowing that she was Cole’s designated love interest yet wondering how in the world the pair would actually figure that out.

As always, a perfectly entertaining tale from one of the premiere western romance authors. I cannot wait to see where Mary Connealy takes her readers next.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group. A favorable review was not required.All views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

When an explosion kills men and damages the CR Mining Company, the Bodens realize their troubles are not behind them as they thought. Shadowy forces are still working against them.

Cole Boden finds himself caught between missing his time back East and all that New Mexico offers. Sure he fights with his siblings now and then, but he does care for them. He enjoys running the mine and, when he’s honest, he admits that Melanie Blake captures his interest in a way no other woman ever has.

Melanie has been a friend to the Bodens forever. A cowgirl who is more comfortable with horses and lassos than people, she never expected to find herself falling for someone. Particularly for refined Cole Boden, a Harvard graduate who may not stay long at the ranch. She’s determined, however, to help the Bodens finally put an end to the danger that’s threatened all of them. But will putting herself in harm’s way be more dangerous than anyone expected?

Read an Excerpt HERE.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mary Connealy writes romantic comedy…with cowboys.

She is a Carol Award winner, and a Rita, Christy and Inspirational Reader’s Choice finalist.

She is the author of bestselling Kincaid Brides Series, Trouble in Texas Series, Wild at Heart Series, and Cimarron Legacy Series. Her work also includes Lassoed in Texas Trilogy, Montana Marriages Trilogy and Sophie’s Daughters Trilogy. And several novella collections including; Calico & Cowboy Romance Collection, Hearts Entwined, A Bride for All Seasons, Four Weddings and a Kiss, A Match Made in Texas and many more books.

Mary is married to her very own romantic cowboy hero and has four grown daughters and a small bevy of spectacular grandchildren.

A Child’s Christmas Wish by Erica Vetsch



MY REVIEW:

In this heartwarming tale, a still grieving young widower feels obligated to take in an elderly couple and their grandson’s widow after their house is destroyed by fire. Although he has mostly isolated himself from others since his wife’s death, Oscar finds himself drawn to the family despite his determination to remain as disconnected as possible. What else could he do as he watches his young daughter blossom under their care.

“A Child’s Christmas Wish” is perfectly delightful book for the approaching holiday season. I loved all the characters from gruff Oscar to his lively daughter Liesl as well as each of the Amaker family. Filled with large doses of kindness, faith, and traditional Christmas celebrations, the story ended much too soon for me.

I have enjoyed many books by this author and this one was no exception. I would highly recommend adding it to your Christmas reading list.

I voluntarily reviewed a digital copy of this book provided by the author. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

A Baby for Christmas 

The only Christmas gift Oscar Rabb’s four-year-old daughter prays for is one the widower can’t provide: a baby sibling. And when his neighbor’s house burns down, he’s willing to open his home to pregnant and widowed Kate Amaker and her in-laws—but not his heart. Even if his little girl’s convinced Kate’s unborn child is the answer to her wish.

Kate quickly sees the generous but aloof Oscar has little interest in growing closer to his houseguests. Still, she intends to make the coming Christmas a season to remember for his daughter. And as Oscar starts to open up to her, Kate can’t help picturing just how wonderful the holidays—and a future together—might be.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Erica Vetsch is a transplanted Kansan now residing in Minnesota. She loves history and romance, and is blessed to be able to combine the two by writing historical romances. Whenever she’s not immersed in fictional worlds, she’s the company bookkeeper for the family lumber business, mother of two, wife to a man who is her total opposite and soul-mate, and avid museum patron.

My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah by Angie Dicken



MY REVIEW:

I always enjoy a good historical fiction book and it is especially gratifying when I am not only entertained for a few hours but actually learn something new. “My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah |Leanna’s Choice”  fully met both requirements.

The story itself was interesting and the romance was sweet yet  did not progress smoothly at all. Both protagonists had lost a loved one and both blamed themselves. Their response to God’s role in their lives was practically opposite in every way and was only one source of the dilemma that kept both parties hesitant to commit to the other. I enjoyed getting to know each character and found scenes with the children to be especially fun.

Racial prejudice is a subject that has been covered in so many books. Every American knows very well the history between blacks and whites in our nation. I was also aware of  prejudice over the years toward Irish, Italian, Chinese, and Japanese immigrants as well as others in recent years. Somehow I had missed  knowing about the prejudice against the Greek immigrants but in view of history, it makes sense that many would feel threatened by someone with an unknown background, especially if they were in competition for hard-to-find jobs. It was enlightening to meet the Pappas family and learn their customs and witness their struggle to become true Americans.

This book has a strong theme of doing the right thing and not returning evil for evil. It is also a strong story of forgiveness and trusting the Lord.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Celebrate Lit. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Click to purchase

Schoolteacher Leanna McKee plans on leaving the coal mining town of Castle Gate, Utah, and never looking back. Good riddance to coal dust, rugged men, and the fatal mine that took her husband’s life.

Until the widow meets a widower who awakens her heart…and she finds herself inexplicably falling for miner Alex Pappas which stirs up a whole heap of trouble.

Alex’s Greek parents have arranged a more traditional match for him. When the schoolteacher’s association with the Greek family begins to anger the American miners, they threaten Alex and his family. Leanna has received an offer to teach elsewhere and feels she has no choice but to leave Castle Gate. . .though she will be leaving her heart behind.

Click here to purchase Angie’s amazing book!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Angie Dicken is a third generation Greek American, the granddaughter of strong men and women who endured hardship to grow American roots. My Heart Belongs In Castle Gate, Utah is set near the birthplace of her grandfather, a Greek coal miner’s son, and published 100 years after his birth. Angie is a contributor to The Writer’s Alley blog and an ACFW member since 2010. She lives with her husband and four children in the Midwest where she enjoys exploring eclectic new restaurants and chatting with friends over coffee. You can connect with Angie at www.angiedicken.com.

GUEST POST FROM ANGIE DICKEN:

My Publishing Story: A Journey of Perfect Timing

“Wait for the LORD;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the LORD.” Psalm 27:14

I wrote a story five years ago. My footing was finally solid on how to write, after a couple ACFW conferences and connecting with my bestie writing sister, Ashley. So in 2012, I poured my heart out within the parameters of what I’d learned.

My great grandfather, born in 1884 and immigrated to Utah in 1910’s.

The story I wrote stemmed from my heritage. From a very young age, I’ve been inspired by my grandfather. He was the son of a Greek coal miner who came over from Greece in the 1910’s. My grandfather always had wonderful stories to tell–he stirred up my intrigue for WWII era as he was a Purple Heart recipient (twice), and spoke of freeing concentration camps and invading Hitler’s homes; my grandfather lived a rags to riches legacy, having been born in a tent in a coal town, and then becoming a successful home and commercial builder–I declared I’d be an architect at age eleven…even majoring in Landscape Architecture in college.

Papou was one of my greatest heroes. And my novel was a tribute to him, to my Greek roots, to an American legacy.

So, at ACFW 2012, I took my novel to conference with more confidence than I had before. This story caught the attention of an agent– and I signed a contract with the Steve Laube Agency in November of that year. That was amazing…I chuckle now because the name of the room that I interviewed with Tamela was the “McKee” room–the last name of my heroine. A sign? Maybe. When she sent my story out for all publishers to see that next month, I thought my time for that book was just around the corner.

And…

Now it’s 2017, and that story is under contract with a publisher as of Fall 2016.

What timing, right?

Why the heck did it take so long? Not for lack of trying. My agent and I took every possible measure.

Why did I get rejection after rejection, and write two other books in the wait?

What happened between then?

Only in looking back, do I see why I had to wait for this book. And when I look back, I realize just how much Timing is His and there’s nothing I can do to speed it up or make it mine. All I can do is take courage, and wait.

I’ll give you a quick recap of what happened between 2013–when the book was put in the proverbial drawer of unwanted manuscripts–and now, 2017, the year it will get published (um, after a few rewrites and edits–always learning…).

In looking back, this is what I see:

My Community was Built. I fell in love with my writer friendships. A bit dramatic? Maybe, but it’s the truth. I connected with ladies who knew my heart as a writer, and allowed me into their lives in an authentic, Christ-loving way. I found hope in the writing journey because my friends held my hands and rubbed my back when all seemed lost. And in this, I grew not as a writer, but as a heart. My heart became soft for the needs of others and the value of authenticity in this short, precious life.

There was a Pride Monster, and He needed to kill it. Oh, Lord, if ever there was a pride monster, it was me. My gut reaction in every rejection, every criticism, every other person’s success was a measurement against them according to me. Yuck. Do you know what the best way to kill a Pride Monster? Starve it. Even though I had my sweet friends and my agent encouraging me along the way, my heart was set on publication and I was not getting that. I wanted it so badly that I turned ugly when it seemed to slip through my fingers with every rejection. And I spiraled and I came up for air to those authentic friendships speaking Truth in love. God knew what He was doing when He built my community, and He knew He would use it to lift me up and tear down my ugly.

The Darkest Valley Was Ahead. Everything stood still in 2014. My personal crisis gave me little room for any true focus on my writing success. If anything, it made the effort seem petty. When you go through your days wondering if you’ll make it to the next morning without a complete mental breakdown, you can’t really dream. My dream in those moments was to crawl out of my skin and run away. This was not about my writing, this was about God’s faithfulness to someone who was losing faith–in the person she loved, in the life she constructed, in the heart that was broken. Looking back (I did climb up and out of this valley), I needed this valley walk (or crawl) to happen when it did–without a book on the shelf, without confidence in something that I had accomplished. I needed brokenness to become stronger and know that my strength has nothing to do with me.

There are several other moments and signs that I see as I look back, but I’m not going for the longest blog post of 2017, but I do want to share two sweet confirmations that the timing really is His.

First, I got a book contract! You know this, but, the contract came at a time when I had grown peaceful in the journey–the pride monster lay slain, and I picked up a pen and took an opportunity. My Oklahoma Land Run book with Love Inspired Historical won the Manuscript Matchmakers contest…and WAS coming out in Spring 2018.

I had secretly told those closest to me, that it would’ve been nice for it to come out in September instead…just because that’s when the book opens–September, 1893–the historical date of the Land Run.

So, what happens after I turn in my complete book a few days before its deadline? My editor tells me they bumped up my date to September of 2017. And I am sure, for them, it had nothing to do with the history, but for me, it was everything to do with the history–and His timing. Look for my debut novel, The Outlaw’s Second Chance this September!

There’s more…

My second contract came in! And this was a wonderful surprise. My agent and I had found out last spring that a new series was being launched based on geographical places around the U.S. I immediately thought of my Coal country story. So, I put together a proposal for a book I’d written long ago…and got a contract with Barbour this Fall for my novel, My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah.

But, the timing? November 2017 is my release.

God’s Timing in its finest…The book comes out during the centennial year of my grandfather’s birth. He was born in Dec. 1917 in Carbon County, Utah. My hero and my inspiration for this very book.

I just can’t stop smiling at the chance to honor my late grandfather with a story written by his third generation Greek American granddaughter who was inspired by his roots grown a century ago.

If only he could be here now. But I know he’s smiling, too.

A century.

It took a CENTURY.

Only by God’s grace, and His perfect timing.

BLOG STOPS:

A Baker’s Perspective, October 31

Faithfully Bookish, October 31

Caffeinated Reads, October 31

Captive Dreams Window, November 1

Reading Is My SuperPower, November 1

A Greater Yes, November 2

Janices book reviews, November 2

Daysong Reflections, November 2

Red Headed Book Lady, November 3

Books, Books, and More Books., November 3

Just the Write Escape, November 3

Carpe Diem, November 4

Christian Bookaholic, November 4

Radiant Light, November 5

History, Mystery & Faith, November 5

Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner, November 6

Texas Book-aholic, November 6

Babs Book Bistro, November 7

Kristin’s Book Reviews, November 7

Singing Librarian Books, November 8

Connie’s History Classroom, November 8

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 9

J.E. Grace Christian Author Blog, November 9

Neverending Stories, November 9

Have A Wonderful Day, November 10

Pause for Tales, November 10

Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 11

Mary Hake, November 11

Splashes of Joy, November 11

Bigreadersite, November 12

Blossoms and Blessings, November 12

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 12

Vicky Sluiter, November 13

Bibliophile Reviews, November 13

GIVEAWAY:

To celebrate her tour, Angie is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of her book
The Outlaw’s Second Chance!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!
https://promosimple.com/ps/c1ff

Christmas at Carnton by Tamera Alexander



MY REVIEW:

I have been reading Tamera Alexander’s books since her very first one and have enjoyed them so much that she is one of the authors I must read. As a Tennessean I have so much appreciated her novels set in the Nashville and Franklin area which are just a three to four hour drive from my home. It is so interesting to learn more about my state’s history in the form of a well-researched novel that makes the people come to life for readers.

“Christmas at Carnton” is the perfect Christmas book for history lovers, especially those who find the Civil War of interest. Not only does it contain a heart-warming romance but it includes a detailed look at life in middle Tennessee during that era from the luxuries on the plantation to the deprivations of widows and children. It was fun to visit Carnton through the eyes of Aletta and Jake as they received such a warm and caring welcome from Colonel John McGavock‘s family.

A fine story filled with hope and faith, “Christmas at Carnton” should be an excellent gift for someone you know or even for yourself.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Litfuse Publicity. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Amid war and the fading dream of the Confederacy, a wounded soldier and a destitute widow discover the true meaning of Christmas—and sacrificial love.

Recently widowed, Aletta Prescott struggles to hold life together for herself and her six-year-old son. With the bank threatening to evict them, she discovers an advertisement for the Women’s Relief Society auction and applies for a position—only to discover it’s been filled. Then a chance meeting with a wounded soldier offers another opportunity—and friendship. But can Aletta trust this man?

Captain Jake Winston, a revered Confederate sharpshooter, suffered a head wound at the Battle of Chickamauga. When doctors deliver their diagnosis, Jake fears losing not only his greatest skill but his very identity. As he heals, Jake is ordered to assist with a local Women’s Relief Society auction. He respectfully objects. Kowtowing to a bunch of “crinolines” isn’t his idea of soldiering. But orders are orders, and he soon discovers this group of ladies—one, in particular—is far more than he bargained for.

Set against the backdrop and history of the Carnton Plantation in Franklin, Tennessee, Christmas at Carnton is a story of hope renewed and faith restored at Christmas.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mandy Whitley Photography)

Tamera Alexander is a USA Today bestselling author and one of today’s most popular writers in the historical fiction genre. She and her husband live in Nashville, Tennessee, not far from the Southern mansions that serve as the backdrop for six of her award-winning novels. For more about Tamera’s books, visit www.TameraAlexander.com

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