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Book Review (+ Giveaway!): The Love Letter

25 Jun

About the Book

 

Title: The Love Letter

Author: Rachel Hauck

Release Date: June 12, 2018

Genre: Contemporary

Tour Dates: June 21 – July 4

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Wedding Dress comes a story of long-lost love and its redemption in future generations.

Romance has never been actress Chloe Daschle’s forte—in life or on screen. But everyone knows who to call for a convincing death scene . . . and it might be killing her career.

When Chloe is given a peek at the script for an epic love story, she decides to take her destiny into her own hands and request an audition for the lead female role, Esther Kingsley. The compelling tale, inspired by family lore and a one-page letter from the colonial ancestor of scriptwriter Jesse Gates, just might break her out of this career-crippling rut. Jesse would rather write about romance than live through it after his past relationship ended in disaster. But once on-set together, the chemistry between Jesse and his leading lady is hard to deny.

Centuries earlier, in the heart of the Revolutionary War, Hamilton Lightfoot and Esther Longfellow wrote their saga off the silver screen. Esther’s Loyalist father opposes any relationship with Hamilton, but Esther must face her beloved father’s disapproval and the dangers of war in order to convince Hamilton of their future together. Hamilton has loved Esther for years, and on the eve of battle pens the love letter she’s always wanted—something straight from the heart.

Set in stunning upcountry South Carolina, The Love Letter is a beautifully-crafted story of the courage it takes to face down fear and chase after love, even in the darkest of times. And just maybe, all these generations later, love can come home in a way not even Hollywood could imagine.

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Rachel Hauck is an award winning, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author.

Her book The Wedding Dress was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times. She is a double RITA finalist, a Christy and Carol Award Winner.

Rachel sits on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers, and is the comical sidekick to Susan May Warren at the amazing My Book Therapy. She is a worship leader and speaker.

A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, Rachel is a devoted Ohio State football fan. She lives in sunny central Florida with her husband and ornery cat.

My Impressions:

What could two romances, one set in modern-day Hollywood and the other in the rural South during the Amercian Revolution, possibly have in common? That’s the set-up for Rachel Hauck’s newest dual timeline romance, The Love Letter. A page-turner for sure, this novel kept me up way too late! But it was worth the lost sleep as I fell into Esther and Hamilton and Chloe and Jesse’s stories. This one earns a highly recommended rating from me.

It can’t be easy writing not just one, but two storylines and making them not only credible but ones that the reader comes to care about. Hauck does a wonderful job of making both story worlds real. As her research into everyday life in the South Carolina colony brought Esther and Hamilton’s lives to life, so did her research into film-making and the Hollywood lifestyle produce a real and relatable couple in actor and screenwriter, Chloe and Jesse. The Love Letter is told in alternate points of view of the four main characters allowing the reader to get a complete look into their feelings, doubts, struggles, and hopes. And what great love stories these two couples have! For fans of romance set in any time, this novel certainly satisfies. But the most satisfying part of this book is the revelation of the love God has for people. I loved how God’s love and plan played out across the centuries separating the two couples. The love between a man and woman, of a parent for a child, and of a God who by nature is love is expressed throughout the book — Love broke chains. Unlocked doors. Healed wounds. (p.345) The Love Letter is a declaration of the power of love in times when war and political strife divided and in times when love is cheaply expressed.

Because The Love Letter is a romance, a happily-ever-after is expected, but delivered in a most unexpected way! You’re also going to want to talk about this book once you are done, so grab some friends or your book club and dig in and enjoy!

Highly recommended.

Great for book clubs.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Celebrate Lit and Thomas Nelson for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Guest Post from Rachel Hauck

I’m always looking for story ideas. My husband does a standard disclaimer when I start drilling into a conversation with questions like:

”Really? So why did you do that?”

”Have you sought help?”

”Was it love at first sight?”

Hubster says, “Warning, anything you say can end up in a book.”

Of course, stories abound! Interesting people abound!

Then again, sometimes ideas just hit out of the blue. A few years ago I had the idea of a young, contemporary couple meeting by “accident” only to learn that their great grandparents were in love but time, life, family, war, or society made their love impossible.

I suppose there are a hundred ways to tell such a story but when it came time to write The Love Letter, I was slightly infatuated with the Poldark series on PBS.

Set in 18th century Cornwall, the story and the characters were so dynamic I had to write my own version of Poldark.

But could I write a split time with a 240 year difference? I mean, they didn’t have electricity or phones in 1780! They didn’t even have a postal system. Letters were carried by traveling friends or family.

What possible conflicts could my historical characters face? What event could be so dark and tragic to keep them apart?

The Revolutionary War created a perfect backdrop for my young lovers.

I set the story in upcountry South Carolina not realizing the battle I chose for the back drop, the Battle of Cowpens, was the inspiration for the movie The Patriot. (A fav movie of mine!)

For the contemporary story, I started with shoes. I mean, doesn’t every thing start with shoes?

”Nice outfit but what shoes are you wearing?”

”You’re going on a date? You need new shoes.”

What we “walk in” can either empower or defeat us. There’s a spiritual metaphor I’ll mediate on for awhile.

However the shoe angle didn’t quite work so the contemporary story ended up in Hollywood with an actor/screenwriter and an actress.

Both worlds—1780 upcountry South Carolina and contemporary Hollywood—were a bit out of my southern bailiwick.

I did a lot of research on the war and the colonial south. Where I couldn’t find details, I filled in with my imagination.

As for Hollywood, I talked with a screenwriter friend, read books, watched interviews, and then, you know, made the rest up. Don’t you know I eventually ended up on a movie set—Once Upon A Prince—four days after I finished reading the galley proofs for The Love Letter!

One of the hardest parts of the story was the actual love letter. What did it say? Who wrote it and why? Was there more than one? No, only one. But why only one?

I must have written and rewritten the letter five different ways to Sunday before I settled on the magical one.

During the course of the book, I realized I’d never written a love letter. Have you?

I’ve written sentiments to my husband on an anniversary or birthday card. I speak my love and affection out loud all the time. But a bonafide love letter?

A love letter is it’s own art form. They range from sickly sweet with a lot of “darlings” and “sweethearts” to Shakespearean sonnets.

There’s a vulnerability that comes with writing a love letter. Putting one’s heart on the page creates a new level of commitment with your affections.

Will the reader receive your words? Will the reader respond in kind?

It’s fascinating to consider the purpose of a love letter. Have we lost something intrinsic to the human heart with our instant texting and email society.

Can you imagine Romeo texting to Juliet in 2018?

Saw you at your window. You looked hot.

Doesn’t quite have the same ring as: “But soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east and Juliet is the sun.”

Scripture is a continuous love letter. “For God so loved the world—”

Whether you write love letters or poems, or quick texts, or put XO’s on cards to loved ones, write a love letter this month.

Write one to yourself, to Jesus, a spouse, child, parent, friend, foe—

See how it will bless your heart! Off to write my love letter…

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, June 21

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 21

The Avid Reader, June 21

Genesis 5020, June 21

ansel book blog, June 22

Blogging With Carol, June 22

Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner, June 22

Cover to Cover and Everything in Between, June 23

The Power of Words, June 23

Luv’N Lambert Life, June 23

Janices book reviews, June 23

C Jane Read, June 24

Kristin’s Book Reviews, June 24

Reflections From My Bookshelves, June 25

Faithfully Bookish, June 25

By The Book, June 25

Reading Is My SuperPower, June 25

Kat’s Corner Books, June 26

Maureen’s Musings, June 26

Ladybug Chronicles, June 26

Carpe Diem, June 26

Moments Dipped in Ink, June 27

Mommynificent , June 27

Godly Book Reviews, June 27

God’s Little Bookworm, June 28

Radiant Light, June 28

All-of-a-kind Mom, June 28

Have A Wonderful Day, June 28

Novels corner, June 29

Blossoms and Blessings, June 29

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, June 29

Bigreadersite, June 29

Pause for Tales, June 30

Bibliophile Reviews, June 30

Splashes of Joy, June 30

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, July 1

Simple Harvest Reads, July 1

The Christian Fiction Girl, July 1

A Baker’s Perspective, July 1

Remembrancy, July 2

amandainpa, July 2

To Everything A Season, July 2

proud to be an autism mom, July 3

Texas Book-aholic, July 3

Christian Author, J.E.Grace, July 3

Fiction, Faith, and Fun, July 4

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 4

Jeanette’s Thoughts, July 4

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away

Grand prize of a Kindle Fire 7
Semi-Grand prize of a book basket
2nd – 4th place prize of a copy of The Love Letter!!

Click HERE to enter.

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First Line Friday — The Love Letter

22 Jun

Happy First Friday of Summer! It’s officially Summer Reading Season! I dug into The Love Letter by Rachel Hauck two days ago, and it is with reluctance that I leave Chloe and Jesse and Hamilton and Esther’s worlds to come back to mine. LOL! What book are you reading that has captured your imagination?

For more first line fun, check out Hoarding Books.

 

 

Romance has never been actress Chloe Daschle’s forte—in life or on screen. But everyone knows who to call for a convincing death scene . . . and it might be killing her career.

When Chloe is given a peek at the script for an epic love story, she decides to take her destiny into her own hands and request an audition for the lead female role, Esther Kingsley. The compelling tale, inspired by family lore and a one-page letter from the colonial ancestor of scriptwriter Jesse Gates, just might break her out of this career-crippling rut. Jesse would rather write about romance than live through it after his past relationship ended in disaster. But once on-set together, the chemistry between Jesse and his leading lady is hard to deny.

Centuries earlier, in the heart of the Revolutionary War, Hamilton Lightfoot and Esther Longfellow wrote their saga off the silver screen. Esther’s Loyalist father opposes any relationship with Hamilton, but Esther must face her beloved father’s disapproval and the dangers of war in order to convince Hamilton of their future together. Hamilton has loved Esther for years, and on the eve of battle pens the love letter she’s always wanted—something straight from the heart.  

Set in stunning upcountry South Carolina, The Love Letter is a beautifully crafted story of the courage it takes to face down fear and chase after love, even in the darkest of times. And just maybe, all these generations later, love can come home in a way not even Hollywood could imagine.

To purchase, click HERE.

Rachel Hauck is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author.

She is a Christy Award Winner and a double RITA finalist. Her book The Wedding Dress was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times Book Club.

A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, and a former sorority girl, Rachel and her husband live in central Florida. She is a huge Buckeyes football fan.

Visit her at http://www.rachelhauck.com or http://www.facebook.com/rachelhauck.

Happy Book Birthday! The Love Letter by Rachel Hauck

12 Jun

Wishing a very happy book birthday to Rachel Hauck today! Her latest romance novel, The Love Letter, is now available. Can’t wait to dig into this one! Check it out.

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Wedding Dress comes a story of long-lost love and its redemption in future generations.

Romance has never been actress Chloe Daschle’s forte — in life or on screen. But everyone knows who to call for a convincing death scene . . . and it might be killing her career.

When Chloe is given a peek at the script for an epic love story, she decides to take her destiny into her own hands and request an audition for the lead female role, Esther Kingsley. The compelling tale, inspired by family lore and a one-page letter from the colonial ancestor of scriptwriter Jesse Gates, just might break her out of this career-crippling rut. Jesse would rather write about romance than live through it after his past relationship ended in disaster. But once on-set together, the chemistry between Jesse and his leading lady is hard to deny.

Centuries earlier, in the heart of the Revolutionary War, Hamilton Lightfoot and Esther Longfellow wrote their saga off the silver screen. Esther’s Loyalist father opposes any relationship with Hamilton, but Esther must face her beloved father’s disapproval and the dangers of war in order to convince Hamilton of their future together. Hamilton has loved Esther for years, and on the eve of battle pens the love letter she’s always wanted — something straight from the heart.

Set in stunning upcountry South Carolina, The Love Letter is a beautifully-crafted story of the courage it takes to face down fear and chase after love, even in the darkest of times. And just maybe, all these generations later, love can come home in a way not even Hollywood could imagine.Rachel Hauck is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author.

Rachel Hauck is a Christy Award Winner and a double RITA finalist. Her book The Wedding Dress was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times Book Club.

A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, and a former sorority girl, Rachel and her husband live in central Florida. She is a huge Buckeyes football fan.

Visit her at http://www.rachelhauck.com or http://www.facebook.com/rachelhauck.

 

Children’s Corner: Christmas Love Letters from God

14 Dec

51erywzt5ul-_sy447_bo1204203200_Written for children ages four to eight, Christmas Love Letters from God cleverly combines both prose and poetry as the story of Jesus’ birth unfolds. The book includes seven stories, beginning with Isaiah’s prophecy and ending with the visit of the wise men. Following each story, the child will find his or her own letter from God, folded into a small envelope attached to the page. Each letter begins with a space in which to write the child’s name, so each one can be specially addressed to the child.

Written as if God is speaking, each personalized message gives the young reader a sense of wonder as they discover anew the Christmas holiday and the birth of Jesus. A very special Bible verse, entitled God’s Perfect Promise, also accompanies each story and letter as God’s personal words of love, promise, and hope.

 

21elzywgdnl-_ux250_Glenys Nellist (in her own words) —

Although I live in Michigan, USA, I was born and raised in a little village in northern England.

I grew up in a big old house, with two wonderful parents and seven siblings. My dad was the one who introduced me to the gospel. My mum was the one who encouraged me to work with children.

And at primary school, my teacher was the one who urged me to write. One day a week, I was one of the lucky few withdrawn from the classroom to sit in big, comfy armchairs in the teachers’ lounge. There, in front of a roaring log fire, with pencil and paper at the ready, I would write.

I never would have imagined that four decades later, I would be blessed enough to be an author of children’s books, or be married to a wonderful husband, or be mum to four sons, and a grandma too. But of course, no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him. (1 Corinthians 2:9)

And to God, alone, be the glory.

My Impressions:

Nothing I can say can improve on the description of Christmas Love Letters from God at the top of this post. Scripture told in easy to understand language combines with rhyme that makes the characters come to life giving your child a big picture view of the birth of Jesus foretold by ancient prophets and come to earth as God’s greatest gift. The book is beautifully illustrated and captures the awe and wonder of the Christmas season. I loved how the author includes promises from God’s word that apply to the stories as well as to life today. Special letters from God help personalize each story. There is even a blank letter at the back that your child can address to Jesus!

A wonderful addition to family reading time, Christmas Love Letters from God is a recommended read!

Recommended.

Audience: children ages 5-8.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to Zonderkidz for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Book Review: Love Letters from God

3 Oct

733843What child does not love to receive mail? What if that child could receive, open and read his or her own personal mail from God? Love Letters from God will invite them to do just that! Accompanying each story in this unique children’s Bible is a very special and encouraging letter, each tucked away in its own lift-the-flap envelope, just for them. Written for children ages four to eight, Love Letters from God includes eighteen of the most popular Bible stories—nine from the Old Testament and nine from the New Testament. Following each story the child will find his or her own letter from God. Children will love the excitement of opening the letters and parents will love how each letter elaborates on the Bible story being told. A very special Bible verse, entitled God’s Wonderful Words To You will accompany each story and letter. Much more than a mere memory verse, each carefully chosen promise will be God’s very own personal words of love, encouragement, and hope. This book will culminate in an invitation for the children to write their own RSVP to God.

 

 

glenys_XK8GT5ERGlenys Nellist (from the author’s website) — Author of Love Letters from God. Originally a primary school teacher from England, I came to the United States to serve as Christian Education Director alongside my husband, who is a pastor. We now serve a vibrant, growing congregation at Trinity United Methodist Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan. I am a writer with a passion for children’s ministry.

 

wpc70dddc7Sophie Allsopp (from the illustrator’s website) –I spent my childhood endlessly painting, sewing, cutting, and sticking – basically making stuff all the time (except when I was off exploring with my sisters). From a young age I wanted to be something creative, and ended up studying for an illustration degree in Bath.

I set up my illustration business with help from the Prince’s Youth Business Trust, and in the 20 years since, I have worked for a large range of clients. I worked part time whilst my son was little, but returned to full time work with a new style and renewed enthusiasm. I love being an illustrator, and find it very rewarding.

In my spare time, I have carried on making stuff – jewellery using silver and natural materials, dress making and needle felting (amongst other things!)

Likes: family get togethers, japanese craft books, vegetarian lasagne, standing on the tops of hills
Dislikes: celery, sitting backwards on trains, rubbish women’s magazines, slugs

I still live close to where I grew up in the south east of England, with my husband, son, cat and guinea pig.

 

My Impressions:

In a world of so many children’s Bible storybooks, it is hard to choose just the right one for your special child. If you can only buy one, I recommend Love Letters from God by Glenys Nellist and illustrated by Sophie Allsopp. Written for children ages 4-9, this book has it all — beautiful and detailed illustrations, well-written retellings of Bible stories in both prose and verse, a Bible verse to reinforce the story, and best of all, a personalized message showing your child how he or she can be part of God’s story. There are 18 stories, 9 each from the Old and New Testaments, all favorites, but not all always included in Bible storybooks. I especially liked the inclusion of the call to Samuel and the parable of the Lost Sheep. At the end, there is an invitation to join Jesus’ team and a blank card for your child to write their own love letter to God. Love Letters from God is a great way to explain God to your child and lead him to a deeper understanding and relationship with Him. A perfect addition to your family’s library, I highly recommend this book.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: children ages 4-9.

(Thanks to Zondervan for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.

First Love Forever Blitz Tour

4 Apr

 

Title: First Love Forever Romance Collection
Authors: Suzanne Dietze, Cynthia Hickey, Marcia Gruver, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Martha Rogers, Lorna Seilstad, Connie Stevens and Jennifer Uhlarik
Publisher: Barbour Publishing
Release Date: April 1, 2018
Genre: Historical Romance Fic

Amazon l Goodreads l Book Depository l CBD l Itunes

A first love is never easily forgotten…

and coming face to face with that person again can be awkward when the heartstrings are still holding on to the what ifs.

In settings from 1865 to 1910, nine couples are thrown back on the same path by life’s changes and challenges. A neighbor returns from law school. An heiress seeks a quick marriage. A soldier’s homecoming is painful. A family needs help. A prodigal son returns. A rogue aeronaut drops from the sky. A runaway bridegroom comes home. A letter for aid is sent. A doctor needs a nurse. Can love rekindle despite the separation of time and space?

A Most Reluctant Bride by Cynthia Hickey
1880 – Ozark foothill ranch: Maggie Spoonmore marries her father’s former foreman, Zach Colton in order to salvage her reputation, yet struggles to believe he married her for love and not her inheritance.

Excerpt

A Most Reluctant Bride

Cynthia Hickey

Ozark Mountains, Arkansas, 1880

“Oh, Cricket.” Margaret Spoonmore, or Maggie as she insisted everyone call her, leaned her forehead against the white patch on her horse’s head.“ Mama has yet another pompous, stuffed shirt coming to supper tonight. What do you say we run away together, you and I?” She’d much rather live alone with her horse then marry a man she didn’t love.

Cricket nickered and turned to her feed. Obviously, Maggie’s only true friend in theworld had other things to do than listen to her whining. Sighing, Maggie pushed away from the stall and headed for the house nestled among the cottonwoods.

She remembered the day Pa moved her and Mama in. He’d been so proud. Ten years of building up his ranch of quarter horses in a rich Ozark mountain valley, then like a whiff of wind, heaven called him home and Mama wanted Maggie married off. Life wasn’t fair.

“Margaret!” Mama stood on the front porch, hands cupped around her mouth, and yelled.

“I’m here. No reason to holler.”

“Mr. Mason will be here soon and you’re still in your riding clothes.” Mama scowled then pointed inside. “Go get dressed. You know I’m dying. I’ve got to get you married before theGood Lord has me join your Pa.”

Maggie rolled her eyes. A bit of indigestion last month and Mama had thought herself on death’s door ever since. The doctor plainly said she was as healthy as a horse. She giggled. As a woman who constantly had to watch her weight, Mama had taken offense at the comparison and pouted for days.

“Unchaperoned? Mercy, Mama.” Maggie grinned. “How scandalous.”

“Hush. The man was clear when he stated he had no notions regarding you.”

“That was five years ago, Mama. I was a child.” Still, her face heated every time she remembered the humiliation of her trying to steal a kiss from the mountain’s most handsome young man. Since then, she’d avoided Zach like the black plague. Now, her mother wanted her alone with him? Could the day get any worse?

Yep. Mama laid out her pink ruffled dress. “It makes me look like a child.”

“Men like women in frilly things, dear. Stuff the bodice if you want more curves.” With those embarrassing words, she strolled out of the room. Well, Maggie refused to wear such an atrocity. She marched to her wardrobe and pulled out a dress of deepest green. One with a simple bodice and full skirt. A dress complimenting her dark hair and fair skin, one that made her feel pretty. Yes, she was petite, more thin than not, but she wasn’t going to put on false airs for anyone.

She donned the dress and put her hair up in a fashion her mother would approve of and headed downstairs as a knock sounded on the door. Squaring her shoulders, she greeted their guest for the evening.

The banker’s nephew. She hadn’t known his name, only his face, as someone pointed him out at church last Sunday. The man was barely taller than Maggie’s five foot two and almost as round. Shifty eyes like a weasel’s ran over her.

“Miss Spoonmore. You do look a vision.” He removed his felt hat and bowed.

“Thank you. Please come in.”

“Excuse me?” Maggie froze. “Why, didn’t your mother tell you?” His eyes widened. “My uncle will remove the loan on this house …

paid in full … on the day we say our vows.”

Mama was selling Maggie like a prize colt? She wouldn’t get away it. Maggie was taking Cricket and making good on her promise to run away. “I, uh, fear I have a terrible headache. Please accept my apologies.” She hiked her skirt above her ankles and thundered to her room.

She’d just thrown herself across her bed when her mother barged in. “You are embarrassing me.”

“Don’t you think you should have let me in on your little secret? ”Maggie rolled over and glared. “I wasn’t aware we had a loan on the ranch, much less that I was a bargaining chip!”

“Don’t be so melodramatic. We all have to do things we don’t want to do to make it in a man’s world.”

“I won’t.” She kicked her legs, very aware she was behaving like a child. “You’re selling Pa’s legacy.”

“Seriously. Get up. Zacharius arrived early. I’ll pacify Mr. Mason in the meantime. But …” She tapped Maggie on the head.“ You will go through with this marriage. I’m tired of your silly games, and I want off this mountain.”

Tears rolled down Maggie’s cheeks. Pa hadn’t been dead a full year and Mama wasalready giving up. Sure, it was tough running the ranch themselves, but they had good help and had placed an advertisement in the paper for a new foreman. It was only a matter of time before things got easier. Mr. Mason didn’t look the ranching type. He’d most likely sell off the stock and the land to pad his bank account.

Maggie sighed and pushed off the bed, quickly redressing in her riding clothes. A barn was not the place for a nice dress. Especially, since Maggie intended to leave at the first opportunity. She tossed a few things into a small fabric bag and rushed outside before Mama could ask questions.

She tried to skid to a halt to avoid a collision with the man on the porch. Instead, her feet slipped. She slammed into his broad back. They both fell to the packed clay ground, her on top of him as they rolled.

Zach Colton grinned up at her. “Well, hello to you, too. It’s been a long time, Maggie. I can’t imagine a better greeting.”

Mercy. She scrambled to her feet, trying unsuccessfully to pat

her hair into place. “My apologies.” Nose in the air, face flaming, she headed for the barn.

Multi-published and Amazon and ECPA Best-Selling author Cynthia Hickey has sold over a million copies of her works since 2013. She has taught a Continuing Education class at the 2015 American Christian Fiction Writers conference, several small ACFW chapters and RWA chapters. She and her husband run the small press, Winged Publications, which includes some of the CBA’s best well-known authors. She lives in Arizona with her husband, one of their seven children, two dogs, one cat, and three box turtles. She has eight grandchildren who keep her busy and tell everyone they know that “Nana is a writer”.

Giveaway

 

One print copy of First Love Forever Romance Collection

One print copy of My Heart Belongs in Mackinac Island by Carrie Fancett Pagels (or any other one of her released titles)

A pair of handmade earrings (*style subject to change from what is pictured)

Additional book swag and a $20 Barnes & Noble Gift Card.

(Only Gift card open internationally. All items open to US mailing addresses.) To Enter, click HERE. Be sure to stop at every stop on the tour for additional entries.

Tour Schedule

 

If You Loved . . . The One True Love of Alice-Ann

31 Aug

I have found that when I finish a book I really, really like, I want to read more books just like it. So I am starting a new feature on By The Book. At the end of each month, I will recommend books based on By The Book’s monthly book club selection. In August we read The One True Love of Alice-Ann by Eva Marie Everson. We loved it! It is set on the American home front during WWII. If you haven’t read it yet, you need to! 🙂 If you have and want to read more like it, check out the following recommendations.

Books Set On The American Home Front During WWII

The Discovery By Dan Walsh

Gerard Warner was not only a literary giant whose suspense novels sold in the millions, he was also a man devoted to his family, especially his wife of nearly 60 years. When he dies he leaves his Charleston estate to his grandson, Michael, an aspiring writer himself. Michael settles in to write his own first novel and discovers an unpublished manuscript his grandfather had written, something he’d kept hidden from everyone but clearly intended Michael to find. Michael begins to read an exciting tale about Nazi spies and sabotage, but something about this story is different from all of Gerard Warner’s other books. It’s actually a love story. As Michael delves deeper into the story he discovers something that has the power to change not only his future but his past as well.

A Distant Melody by Sarah Sundin

Never pretty enough to please her gorgeous mother, Allie will do anything to gain her approval even marry a man she doesn’t love. Lt. Walter Novak fearless in the cockpit but hopeless with women takes his last furlough at home in California before being shipped overseas. Walt and Allie meet at a wedding and their love of music draws them together, prompting them to begin a correspondence that will change their lives. As letters fly between Walt’s muddy bomber base in England and Allie’s mansion in an orange grove, their friendship binds them together. But can they untangle the secrets, commitments, and expectations that keep them apart?

Nightingale by Susan May Warren

Nightingale Esther Lange doesn’t love her fiancé — she’s trapped in an engagement after a mistaken night of passion.  Still, she grieves him when he’s lost in battle, the letters sent to her by the medic at his side giving her a strange comfort, so much that she strikes up a correspondence with Peter Hess, an Iowa farmboy.  Or is he?  Peter Hess is not who he seems.  Indeed, he’s hiding a secret, something that could cost them both their lives, especially when the past comes back to life.  A bittersweet love song of the home front war between duty and the heart . . . a battle where only one will survive.

Where Treetops Glisten by Tricia Goyer/Cara Putnam/Sarah Sundin

Turn back the clock to a different time, listen to Bing Crosby sing of sleigh bells in the snow, as the realities of America’s involvement in the Second World War change the lives of the Turner family in Lafayette, Indiana.

In Cara Putman’s White Christmas, Abigail Turner is holding down the Home Front as a college student and a part-time employee at a one-of-a-kind candy shop. Loss of a beau to the war has Abigail skittish about romantic entanglements—until a hard-working young man with a serious problem needs her help.

Abigail’s brother Pete is a fighter pilot hero returned from the European Theater in Sarah Sundin’s I’ll Be Home for Christmas, trying to recapture the hope and peace his time at war has eroded. But when he encounters a precocious little girl in need of Pete’s friendship, can he convince her widowed mother that he’s no longer the bully she once knew?

In Tricia Goyer’s Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Meredith Turner, “Merry” to those who know her best, is using her skills as a combat nurse on the frontline in the Netherlands. Halfway around the world from home, Merry never expects to face her deepest betrayal head on, but that’s precisely what God has in mind to redeem her broken heart.

The Turner family believes in God’s providence during such a tumultuous time. Can they absorb the miracle of Christ’s birth and His plan for a future?

 

Book Review: The One True Love of Alice-Ann

17 Aug

Living in rural Georgia in 1941, sixteen-year-old Alice-Ann has her heart set on her brother’s friend Mack; despite their five-year age gap, Alice-Ann knows she can make Mack see her for the woman she’ll become. But when they receive news of the attack on Pearl Harbor and Mack decides to enlist, Alice-Ann realizes she must declare her love before he leaves.

Though promising to write, Mack leaves without confirmation that her love is returned. But Alice-Ann is determined to wear the wedding dress her maiden aunt never had a chance to wear ― having lost her fiancé in the Great War. As their correspondence continues over the next three years, Mack and Alice-Ann are drawn closer together. But then Mack’s letters cease altogether, leaving Alice-Ann to fear history repeating itself.

Dreading the war will leave her with a beautiful dress and no happily ever after, Alice-Ann fills her days with work and caring for her best friend’s war-torn brother, Carlton. As time passes and their friendship develops into something more, Alice-Ann wonders if she’ll ever be prepared to say good-bye to her one true love and embrace the future God has in store with a newfound love. Or will a sudden call from overseas change everything?

Eva Marie Everson grew up in rural Georgia just outside of Savannah and currently lives in Central Florida. She taught Old Testament theology for six years at Life Training Center in Longwood, Florida and has written numerous articles for Crosswalk.com (including the acclaimed Falling Into The Bible), and has had articles featured in Christian Bride Magazine, Christian Retailing Magazine, The Godly Business Woman and Marriage Partnershipmagazines. Eva Marie has been interviewed by a number of media outlets including radio, television, newspaper, magazines, and the Internet. In 2002 Eva Marie was one of six Christian journalists sent to Israel for a special ten-day press tour. She was forever changed.

Eva Marie’s work includes award winning books such as: Shadow of Dreams, The Potluck Club, and Sex, Lies, and the Media. She has over 20 titles to her credit.

Eva Marie is a graduate of Andersonville Theological Seminary. She won AWSA’s very first Member of the Year Award in 2002. She is the past president of Word Weavers, one of the fastest growing Christian writers groups in the US. She is a graduate of CLASS and a member of several writer’s organizations. Both an international and national speaker, her passion is helping others to hear the heartbeat of God.

My Impressions:

The One True Love of Alice-Ann by Eva Marie Everson is By The Book’s August selection. Everson is a favorite author of ours primarily because of her endearing characters and her novels’ wonderful sense of time and place. This book is no exception. Part romance and part coming-of-age, Alice-Ann is a quiet, yet quick-paced novel. I felt like I had been set right into the small town of Bynum, GA, and I sure loved my visit. This one is a highly recommended read from me.

The novel opens on Alice-Ann’s 16th birthday — December 7, 1941. As events of that infamous day unfold, Alice-Ann senses that her world is about to change dramatically. Many of the young men in town enlist, and those that are left send prayers for their safety. Life in the rural farming community will never be the same.

I loved the character of Alice-Ann Branch. She grows as the story unfolds, changing from naive teenager to a compassionate young woman. I loved how her viewpoint on life, family, and the war itself matures. Additionally, the supporting characters are well-developed, coming into their own as the novel progresses. Bynum is a fictional town, but Everson has added historical details and inspiration from real-life events to allow the reader to view life as it was on the home front. I especially liked the inclusion of German POWs. My father was stationed in Texas during WWII and told tales of the POWs he encountered there. (My parents even had a painting from a German POW.) This and other details gave a different slant from other WWII novels I have read, rounding out that era for me. Faith in God is a strong part of the story. As difficult situations arise, the characters lean on God instead of their own understanding. They call on Him to manage the distresses they face (Psalm 25:17). And for those who love romance, The One True Love of Alice-Ann presents a sweet and satisfying love story.

I really liked The One True Love of Alice-Ann. Its depiction of the greatest generation — all they lost, endured, and found victory in — and the era that made them is perfect! On a side note, the author’s website is a treasure trove of information. Be sure to check it out.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: older teens to adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(I purchased this book from Amazon. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Book Review + Author Interview — Healing Love by Jennifer Slattery

26 Jul

A news anchor intern has it all planned out, and love isn’t on the agenda.

Brooke Endress is on the cusp of her lifelong dream when her younger sister persuades her to chaperone a mission trip to El Salvador. Packing enough hand sanitizer and bug spray to single-handedly wipe out malaria, she embarks on what she hopes will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

But Brooke is blindsided by the desperation for hope and love she sees in the orphans’ eyes. And no less by the connection she feels with her handsome translator. As newfound passion blooms, Brooke wrestles with its implications for her career dreams.

Ubaldo Chavez, teacher and translate, knows the struggle that comes with generational poverty. But he found the way out – education – and is determined to help his students rise above.

When he agrees to translate for a mission team from the United States he expects to encounter a bunch of “missional tourists” full of empty promises. Yet an American news anchor defies his expectations, and he finds himself falling in love. But what does he have to offer someone with everything?

My Impressions:

Healing Love can be categorized as a contemporary romance since it has a love story that develops throughout the book. But its message is so much more than that. If anything it tells the story of a young woman who falls in love with God’s people. Inspired by a mission trip the author’s family participated in, this dual setting novel (California and El Salvador) explores the desperate needs of people and our response to it. I really liked this one, and if you have a heart for missions and love a happily-ever-after ending, you will too!

Brooke Endress is two years out of grad school and pursuing her dream of working in broadcast journalism. Reluctantly she agrees to accompany her teenaged sister on a mission trip to El Salvador. As Brooke is confronted with the realities of the desperate life of poverty in that country, her whole perspective is turned upside down. Translator Ubaldo Calla has his worldview challenged as well when discovers that the beautiful North American is not the spoiled woman he thought, but deeply caring with a love for his home country.

The contrast between American life and the crippling poverty of El Salvador is uncovered in Healing Love. This novel brought the struggle of survival to life for this reader. Slattery doesn’t shy away from sharing the problems of El Salvador — poverty, child labor, sexual abuse, poor education. The missions team that Brooke accompanies makes an impression, but it is really long term action that is required to truly make a difference. I really liked the spiritual growth that Brooke and Ubaldo undergo as they heal relationships and touch lives.

Full of heart, faith, and love, Healing Love is a great story. It is one that will leave you thinking long after the last page is turned. It is an especially good choice for a book club or missions group.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE. (It’s free for Kindle Unlimited!)

(Thanks to the author for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Author, speaker, and ministry leader Jennifer Slattery writes for Crosswalk.com and is the managing and acquiring editor for Guiding Light Women’s Fiction, an imprint with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She believes fiction has the power to transform lives and change the culture. Healing Love is her sixth novel, and it was birthed during a trip she and her family took to El Salvador that opened her eyes to the reality of generational poverty and sparked a love for orphans and all who’ve experienced loss.

Her deepest passion is to help women experience God’s love and discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she travels with her team to various churches to speak to women and help them experience the love and freedom only Christ can offer. When not writing, editing, or speaking, you’ll likely find her chatting with her friends or husband in a quiet, cozy coffeehouse. Visit her online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and connect with her and her Wholly Loved team at WhollyLoved.com.

Q&A with Jennifer Slattery

When did you begin to write?

I’ve been writing in one fashion or another since I learned to hold a pencil. I wrote my first story (or at least, the first one I remember) when I was in maybe fourth or fifth grade for a young author’s contest. I remember being selected from my class, though I can’t remember what I was selected for! Maybe to have my story included in a publication?

For years, I wrote poems, which is interesting because now I stink at poetry, though I do often write song lyrics for my stories. (Music can be such a powerful way to connect with God and soak in truth!). I never really pursued publication or even thought about what that might look like until about a decade ago when I began to sense a clear call from God. I felt God was telling me not only was I to write, and write for Him, but this was to be my predominant focus.

After a bit of resisting (for numerous reasons all related to pride and fear), I surrendered, plunked myself in front of my computer, and penned what later became Breaking Free (my fourth and so far, most popular, release).

What led you to write Healing Love?

The idea for this story came while on a plane ride leaving El Salvador, a country I was initially nervous to visit but quickly became reluctant to leave. Our family joined our church (at the time) for a weeklong mission trip, during which we served at an orphanage for girls who had been sexually abused. It was an incredibly emotional and eye-opening experience.

I left with a broken heart and a large pile of letters the girls had written to me before we left. Those letters remain in the top drawer of my bedside table to this day and serve as a reminder of God’s call to love — however and whenever I can.

On the plane ride back, tears pricking my eyes, letters in my lap, I processed all I’d experienced and saw during my week. All God had shown me, not just about the El Salvador people and the sweet orphans I had so quickly fallen in love with, but about His heart. And almost instantly, a story idea took hold.

The next six months or so were incredibly painful as I researched what life was really like for countless families in El Salvador, many of whom have no choice but to work long hours in the hot sun, many of whom are forced to have their children as young as seven and eight working beside them. Many others who live on trash heaps, scavenging for food. Others still who, desperate to survive, sell their children into sex trafficking. Women and children who’ve sold themselves.

One of the downfalls of having a writer’s brain is that everything in my mind plays out in vivid detail. Add to that the fact that I have a bit of OCD, and my brain can get stuck on replay mode, in this case, a replay that utterly broke me.

One afternoon, I went for a walk, trying not to think about all I learned and the precious children our family had encountered — trying not to see their faces as they flashed through my mind — I started to pray. I don’t remember what I said, except that I asked God why He was allowing me to see such heartache and pain, such suffering.

And as if in response, a gentle yet clear thought arose: This is what He sees daily, only more so. Not only does He see the pain, but He hears their constant, desperate cries as they beg for aid.

Aid that, most often, comes through you and I.

In what ways can you relate to Brooke, the heroine in Healing Love?

Oh, my word! In many, and not always the best of ways. I’ve already admitted I have a bit of OCD. In other words, I like to control my world and everything in it. As with Brooke, this comes out strongest when I feel out of control — threatened, vulnerable. Fearful. When instead I should be turning to God in surrender — because that’s when I find strength and peace. But I’m learning, as is Brooke.

In what ways can you relate to Ubaldo, the hero?

Sweet Ubaldo. He means well, and he’s done and is doing a lot of good. I love that he’s driven by his integrity and a genuine love for others. But he can get so focused on doing what he believes to be right that he can in fact hurt others and push them away. I can do that, also. My stubborn, passionate side can become too passionate, working against me and whatever God is calling me to do. Finding the balance between love and truth, passion and grace, can be hard. But again, I’m learning.

Thanks, Jennifer, for sharing your story and your heart!

 

Fun Things for Readers — DIY Book Letters

23 Apr

Have you seen those cute letters made from old books? I have seen them at an antiques show and of course from Anthropologie. Most people use old Reader’s Digest books because of the colorful covers, but finding a special book is a great touch too. My daughter, the artist, found a copy of Celestine Sibley’s book, Mothers Are Always Special, and created a wonderful keepsake for me. With Mother’s Day (and Father’s Day too) coming up, Book Letters are unique gifts for your loved ones. Whether you use a colorful book to match their decor or a personalized book to show how much you love them, mother’s will appreciate the time and creativity you used to create their one-of-a-kind gift.

 

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I found some great instructions at Hand Made Mood. Please note that power tools such as a scroll saw or a band saw are involved in this project. If you don’t have your own power saw, you will need to find a friend who does! Power tools not your thing? Then make sure you check out Anthropologie’s site! 😉