Follow the Heart by Kaye Dacus

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Follow the Heart
B&H Books (May 1, 2013)
by
Kaye Dacus
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Humor, Hope, and Happily Ever Afters! Kaye Dacus is the author of humorous, hope-filled contemporary and historical romances with Barbour Publishing, Harvest House Publishers, and B&H Publishing. She holds a Master of Arts in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, is a former Vice President of American Christian Fiction Writers, and currently serves as President of Middle Tennessee Christian Writers. Kaye lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she is a full-time academic advisor and part-time college composition instructor for Bethel University.

Kaye Dacus (KAY DAY-cuss) is an author and educator who has been writing fiction for more than twenty years. A former Vice President of American Christian Fiction Writers, Kaye enjoys being an active ACFW member and the fellowship and community of hundreds of other writers from across the country and around the world that she finds there. She currently serves as President of Middle Tennessee Christian Writers, which she co-founded in 2003 with three other writers. Each month, she teaches a two-hour workshop on an aspect of the craft of writing at the MTCW monthly meeting. Kaye lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she is an academic advisor and English Composition instructor for Bethel University.

Learn more about Kaye and her books on her Website.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Set during the Industrial Revolution and the Great Exhibition of 1851, Follow the Heart is a “sitting-room romance” with the feel of a Regency-era novel but the fashions and technological advances of the mid-Victorian age.

Kate and Christopher Dearing’s lives turn upside down when their father loses everything in a railroad land speculation. The siblings are shipped off to their mother’s brother in England with one edict: marry money.

At twenty-seven years old, Kate has the stigma of being passed over by eligible men many times—and that was before she had no dowry. Christopher would like nothing better than to make his own way in the world; and with a law degree and expertise in the burgeoning railroad industry, he was primed to do just that—in America.

Though their uncle tries to ensure Kate and Christopher find matrimonial prospects only among the highest echelon of British society, their attentions stray to a gardener and a governess.

While Christopher has options that would enable him to lay his affections where he chooses, he cannot let the burden of their family’s finances crush his sister. Trying to push her feelings for the handsome—but not wealthy— gardener aside, Kate’s prospects brighten when a wealthy viscount shows interest in her. But is marrying for the financial security of her family the right thing to do, when her heart is telling her she’s making a mistake?

Mandates . . . money . . . matrimony. Who will follow the heart?

If you would like to read the first chapter of  Follow the Heart, go HERE.

divider2MY REVIEW:

Follow the Heart is essentially a “twofer” – the reader gets two romances in one novel! Although Christopher and Kate Dearing have been sent to England where their wealthy uncle has promised to help them make a marriage match that will help rescue their family from financial problems, each of them has fallen for someone who is most unsuitable. Not only that but Kate who has been considered a hopeless spinster back home in America, has caught the attention of the most eligible bachelor in Oxford much to her cousin Edith’s displeasure. Will brother and sister sacrifice true love for advantageous marriages or will they follow their hearts?

I liked both Christopher and Kate as well as Nora and Andrew and sympathized with their dilemma but what I really enjoyed was the interesting historical information woven throughout the story. I found it fascinating that it was apparently common for British estates to have orangeries and/or conservatories where food was grown for the family’s use and included such exotic varieties as pineapples and oranges. The brief description of the Crystal Palace in London that so fascinated Christopher that he walked backward when leaving it, inspired me to do a little online research to learn more. The building was even more spectacular than I imagined and although it no longer exists, I would love to learn more about its history.

Follow the Heart is an interesting and enjoyable book that is sure to appeal to those who especially love Regency or Victorian novels.

The Face of the Earth by Deborah Raney



MY REVIEW:

“The Face of the Earth” is an intensely emotional novel that chronicles nearly a year in a family’s life after their wife and mother disappears off “the face of the earth” after attending a teachers conference in another city. After Jill Brannon’s disappearance her family and best friend not only have the grief of her loss to deal with but also the questions of where she is, what kept her from returning home, and whether she is dead or alive. To add to Mitch’s distress, he finds himself growing increasingly dependent upon Shelley,  Jill’s best friend and their next-door neighbor who has been such a help during the difficult months of searching for clues about Jill’s whereabouts. Can he remain faithful to the vows he made with Jill if she never returns home?

Deborah Raney did a remarkable job of depicting natural and believable reactions to an event like Jill’s disappearance. From the initial shock of her family and friends, their grief, their desperation to find her, refusal to believe she might not be alive, and guilt over any pleasure they might find during her absence, every emotion was realistic and moving to me as the reader. There were several directions the author could have taken for a conclusion but I believe she chose the logical solution. I decline to reveal any more in order to prevent spoilers. You will just have to read this excellent novel yourself in order to find out if there is a happily-ever-after.

This book was provided for review by LitFuse Publicity.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

When Mitchell Brannon’s beloved wife of twenty years kisses him goodbye one autumn morning, he has little idea that his life is about to change forever. Mitch returns from work early that evening, surprised Jill’s car isn’t in the garage. Her conference in Kansas City is only a few hours’ drive from their little town of Sylvia, Missouri. But her voice on the answering machine makes him smile. “Hey, babe, I’m just now checking out of the hotel, but I’ll stop and pick up something for dinner. Love you.”

Mitch sets the table with their best china and lights some candles, looking forward to their first weekend as empty nesters.

But at eight o’clock, the candles have burned to stubs and Jill still hasn’t shown up. Mitch tries her cell phone only to get her voice mail over and over again. Their two college kids haven’t heard from their mom either.

At midnight, Mitch’s irritation turns to dread. And later, when the police and Missouri Highway Patrol have turned up nothing, the Kansas City hotel calls to say they’ve found property belonging to Jill in a hotel maid’s possession.

Mitch enlists the help of their next-door neighbor, Jill’s best friend, Shelley, and together they search for clues to Jill’s disappearance. As days turn into weeks and weeks into months, Mitch and Shelley’s friendship grows ever closer—and decidedly complicated with Jill as the tie that binds them together. Just when Shelley decides to finally reveal her feelings for Mitch, a clue to Jill’s whereabouts is uncovered. But every lead seems to be a dead end, and Mitch wonders how he can honor the vows he made to a woman who has seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth.

Purchase a copy here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Deborah Raney is the award-winning author of several novels, including “A Nest of Sparrows” and the RITA award winning “Beneath a Southern Sky” and its sequel, “After the Rains.” Deborah’s first novel, “A Vow to Cherish,” was the inspiration for World Wide Pictures’ highly acclaimed film of the same title, which in December 2004 aired on prime time network TV for the second time. Deb’s novella, “Playing by Heart,” was a National Readers Choice Award winner and a 2004 Christy Award finalist. Her novel for Howard/Simon & Schuster, “Yesterday’s Embers,” appeared on the ECPA Christian fiction bestseller list. Known for her sensitive portrayal of family struggles and relationships, Deb has also written nonfiction books and articles and often speaks at women’s retreats and writers’ conferences around the country. She and her husband, illustrator/author Ken Raney, have four children and make their home in Kansas. Find out more at DeborahRaney.com



Win a “Date Night” Prize Pack from Deborah Raney and RSVP for her 5/30 Facebook Party!

Deborah is celebrating with a fun “Date Night” Giveaway (win a $200 Visa Cash Card!) and an Author Chat Party on Facebook! {5/30}

Face-of-Earth300

 

One winner will receive:

  • A $200 Visa Cash Card (Use that to catch up with a loved one – your spouse, friend, sister, mom…whomever!)
  • The Face of the Earth by Deborah Raney

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 29th. Winner will be announced at the “The Face of the Earth” Facebook Author Chat Party on May 30th. Connect with Deborah for an evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! Deborah will also be sharing a sneak peek of her next book and giving away books and fun gift certificates throughout the evening.

 
So grab your copy of The Face of the Earth and join Deborah on the evening of May 30th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book, don’t let that stop you from coming!)


Don’t miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 30th!

When Love Calls by Lorna Seilstad



MY REVIEW:

“When Love Calls” is the first installment of Seilstad’s exciting new The Gregory Sisters series and features the oldest of the sisters, Hannah. Determined to take care of her younger sisters after the influenza deaths of their parents, Hannah has dropped out of law school to look for employment only to find that the bank is foreclosing on the family farm. Uncertain whether she can follow all the requirements of the job, Hannah nevertheless applies for and is selected to train for a switchboard operator position. To further complicate matters, Lincoln Cole, the young lawyer who served their eviction notice seems to keep turning up in Hannah’s life and can’t seem to stay out of her business. As any discerning reader can easily suspect, there must be a romance brewing between the two young people but can Hannah ever stop controlling her life long enough to trust the Lord and Lincoln to take care of her and her sisters?

I loved Seilstad’s Lake Manawa series so I was eager to begin reading her latest series. Although the location, settings, and characters are totally different in this series, the historical detail, excellent interaction between the characters, plenty of humor, lots of romance, and a touch of suspense once again were the perfect combination for a fun and interesting escape between the pages. I liked the way Hannah’s supervisor paralleled Lincoln and Hannah’s relationship to the biblical story of Boaz and Ruth. And I got to know Hannah’s sisters Charlotte and Tessa just well enough to look forward to their own stories in the future. I can’t wait to see Charlotte come into her own and Tessa is so precocious that her story is bound to be a winner.

This book was provided for review by
Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.



ABOUT THE BOOK:
When Love CallsWith historic details that bring to life the exciting first decade of the twentieth century, Lorna Seilstad weaves a charming tale of camaraderie and companionship that blossoms into love. Readers will get lost in this sweet romance and will eagerly look forward to championing the Gregory sisters’ dreams.

Hannah Gregory is good at many things, but that list doesn’t include following rules. So when she is forced to apply for a job as a telephone switchboard operator to support her two sisters, she knows it won’t be easy. “Hello Girls” must conduct themselves according to strict, and often bewildering, rules. No talking to the other girls. No chatting with callers. No blowing your nose without first raising your hand. And absolutely no consorting with gentlemen while in training.

Meanwhile, young lawyer Lincoln Cole finds himself in the unfortunate position of having to enforce the bank’s eviction of the three Gregory girls from their parents’ home. He tries to soften the blow by supporting them in small ways as they settle into another home. But fiery Hannah refuses his overtures and insists on paying back every cent of his charity.
When one of Hannah’s friends finds himself on the wrong side of a jail cell, Hannah is forced to look to Lincoln for help. Will it be her chance to return to her dreams of studying law? And could she be falling in love?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Lorna SeilstadA history buff, antique collector, and freelance graphic designer, Lorna Seilstad is the author of Making Waves, A Great Catch, and The Ride of Her Life. A former high school English and journalism teacher, she has won several online writing contests and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Lorna lives in Council Bluffs, Iowa, with her husband. Find out more at www.lornaseilstad.com.

Praise for When Love Calls:

“Hannah Gregory is my kind of gal: smart, feisty, loyal and resilient. When Love Calls is a delightful story filled with entertaining, endearing characters. Lorna Seilstad’s trademark is to embroider her novels with historical detail while providing a wonderfully satisfying read.”
– Suzanne Woods Fisher, bestselling author of the Stoney Ridge Seasons series and host of weekly radio show Amish Wisdom

“Lorna Seilstad has a way of dropping her characters into interesting times, and she’s done it again in When Love Calls.”
– Ann H. Gabhart, author of Angel Sister and The Gifted
“Filled with witty prose and engaging characters, When Love Calls is a thoroughly charming love story.”
– Maggie Brendan, author of the Heart of the West series and the Blue Willow Brides series

Jennifer: An O’Malley Love Story by Dee Henderson

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Jennifer: An O’Malley Love Story
Bethany House Publishers (May 1, 2013)
by
Dee Henderson
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Dee Henderson is the bestselling, award-winning author of 15 previous novels, including the acclaimed O’MALLEY series and UNCOMMON HEROES series. These days, most authors are out there energetically promoting their books in print and broadcast and via social media—wherever they can get attention. But Dee Henderson keeps a low profile. She avoids telephone interviews because of hearing problems, declined to provide a current photo, and will say only that she lives in Illinois.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

It’s a summer of change for Jennifer O’Malley. The busy physician has a pediatrics practice in Dallas, and meeting Tom Peterson, and falling in love, is adding a rich layer to her life. She’s sorting out how to introduce him to her family–she’s the youngest of seven–and thinking about marriage.

She’s falling in love with Jesus too, and knows God is good. But that faith is about to be tested in a way she didn’t expect, and the results will soon transform her entire family.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Jennifer: An O’Malley Love Story, go to HERE.

divider2MY REVIEW:

The prequel to the long-time favorite O’Malley series by Dee Henderson, Jennifer: An O’Malley Love Story is the short and sweet love story of doctors Jennifer O’Malley and Tom Peterson. Sister to the other O’Malleys who are each featured in romantic suspense novels originally published between 1999 and 2003, Jennifer appeared in many if not all of the books but never had one of her own.

A dedicated doctor who spends her days trying to prevent the complications that endanger her young patients who suffer from cancer or other life-threatening diseases, Jennifer has wasted little time thinking about love until she meets surgeon Tom Peterson. His calm confidence and caring nature appeals to her and their friendship quickly develops into a more serious relationship. Tom also invites her to visit his church with him and patiently answers her questions about his faith while allowing her space to make her own decisions.

As I read and loved the O’Malley series during the early 2000’s, I do not remember very many details but can remember some of Jennifer’s story. I enjoyed reading her back story in this newly published novella. At less than two hundred pages, I was able to read Jennifer: An O’Malley Love Story in a couple of hours. I liked learning about the beginnings of the faith the entire O’Malley family eventually embraced, especially the way Tom explained his faith to Jennifer. Those familiar with other O’Malley series books will not be particularly surprised at developments near the end but I’ll leave that for readers to learn on their own by reading this novel.

If you are a lover of Dee Henderson books, you will not want to miss this one. Just be aware that it is primarily a short love story without the suspense of the full length novels of the series.

Last Chance for Justice by Kathi Macias

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Last Chance for Justice
B&H Books (May 1, 2013)
by
Kathi Macias
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored nearly 40 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences. She won the 2008 Member of the Year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) and was the 2011 Author of the Year from BooksandAuthors.net. Her novel set in China, Red Ink, was named Golden Scrolls 2011 Novel of the Year and was also a Carol Award Finalist; her October 2012 release, Unexpected Christmas Hero, was named 2012 Book of the Year by BookandAuthors.net. Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband.

Kathi is passionate about The Voice of the Martyrs and Open Doors. To learn more about the persecuted church, please visit VOM’s website and Open Doors Website.

Learn more about Kathi and her books on her Website.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Welcome to Bloomfield, where life is simple, love is real, and stories are shared.

Lynn Myers is still reeling from losing her husband of thirty-five years when word comes that her only sibling, an older brother, has also died. With no one else to settle the estate, she must return to her small hometown of Bloomfield, however briefly, to settle his affairs.

Lynn’s daughter, Rachel, has just graduated from Bible college and with no other commitments comes along to sort through her uncle’s huge old home, right next to the local cemetery.

It isn’t long before Rachel has two men — a handsome CPA and the youth pastor — seriously vying for her attention. At the same time, Lynn’s attention is drawn to a set of journals her brother has left behind detailing a long-standing Bloomfield mystery.

As they pursue solving this mystery, Rachel must make some personal decisions about her future, while Lynn is forced to face unexpected issues from her own past.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Last Chance for Justice, go HERE.

divider2MY REVIEW:

I’ve heard it said that you can’t go home again but since I have never lived over twenty miles from where I grew up, I have no experience to prove or disprove that statement. However, in Last Chance for Justice Lynn Myers gets a chance to find out if it is possible when she inherits her older brother’s estate in Bloomfield. So depressed since her husband’s death that she just wants to climb in bed and sleep all the time, Lynn is encouraged by her recent college graduate daughter to embark on an adventure together to Bloomfield to settle the estate. It doesn’t take long before the familiar small town begins to grow on her and both Lynn and Rachel find themselves hesitant to leave the charming town. An unsolved mystery that has hung over the town for many years and two young men who are interested in a relationship with Rachel also influence their decision to stay just awhile longer.

Last Chance for Justice is somewhat different than other novels I have read by this author but I found it delightful. I loved the close mother/daughter relationship between Lynn and Rachel. The story included a good variety of characters from feisty older waitress Jolene, to weird Jason the cemetery grounds keeper, to the town gossip, and the two charming young men interested in Rachel. I have to admit that I was rooting for the youth pastor all along. A strong thread of faith was deftly woven throughout the narrative with Rachel frequently reminding her mother that they needed to pray before making decisions. The romantic content was both sweet and sensible and the mystery would fall into the “cozy” category. All-in-all, Last Chance for Justice was a relaxing and enjoyable experience and would be just right for summer vacation or a long weekend.