Tag Archives: contemporary romance fiction

Book Review: Sandpiper Cove

20 Apr

Hope Harbor police chief Lexie Graham has plenty on her plate raising her son alone and dealing with a sudden rash of petty theft and vandalism in her coastal Oregon hometown. As a result, she has zero time for extracurricular activities–including romance. Ex-con Adam Stone isn’t looking for love either–but how ironic is it that the first woman to catch his eye is a police chief? Yet wishing for things that can never be is foolish.

Nevertheless, when Lexie enlists Adam’s help to keep a young man from falling into a life of crime, sparks begin to fly. And as they work together, it soon becomes apparent that God may have a different–and better–future planned for them than either could imagine.

 

Irene Hannon is the best-selling author of more than 35 novels. Her books have been honored with the coveted RITA Award from Romance Writers of America, the HOLT Medallion, the Reviewer’s Choice Award from Romantic Times BOOKreviews magazine and the Daphne du Maurier Award for mystery/suspense. Irene and her husband make their home in Missouri, USA. Irene invites you to visit her at her website, http://www.irenehannon.com.

 

My Impressions:

A return trip to Hope Harbor, Oregon? Sign me up! Irene Hannon’s contemporary romance series set in a small coastal town has everything I like — relatable characters, beautiful setting, and stories filled with heart and hope. In book 3 of the series, Sandpiper Cove, an unlikely couple discovers that you really can have a second chance.

Old friends and new are part of Sandpiper Cove. The novel focuses on police chief, Lexie, and ex-con Adam. A unique couple to be sure and more than an opposites attract story line. Hannon handles the obstacles that face this couple realistically. The emphasis is on second chances in life and love, and more than one character learns that God can indeed make things new. I loved the community aspect of this novel, with most willing to look at present actions rather than past mistakes. I also really liked that the main characters focus was not just on themselves, but on others that need a helping hand. For fans of this genre, the romance is sweet, with a big dose of sizzle.

Hope Harbor is a place I would love to visit, and I am pleased that I’ll be able to do just that in future books. A bit of a mystery for the next book is hinted at, and of course I just have to know what Charlie the taco man is up to. I have a few theories about this angelic minor character.

Easily read as a standalone, you really do need to start at the beginning of this series — it is just too good to miss.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

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

Top 10 Tuesday: 2016 Releases I Didn’t Read (But Should)

10 Jan

My TBR pile has reached staggering heights since I started blogging. Is it possible to have too many books? I think the problem is really not enough time to read — stuff like laundry and work just keeps getting in the way! In an effort to read what is on my shelves in 2017, I am practicing saying no to shiny new books. We’ll see how long that lasts. 😉 In the meantime, here is a list of the books that were released in 2016 that I failed to read, but really, really plan to. Can we put a freeze on 2017 releases until I get caught up?

For other bloggers woefully behind on their reading, check out The Broke And The Bookish this week.

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2016 Books That I Need to Read

The Cottage by Michael Phillips

Delilah by Angela Hunt

Dressed for Death by Julianna Deering

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The End of Law by Therese Down

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hall by Julie Klassen

Lead Me Home by Amy Sorrells

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The Shattered Vigil by Patrick Carr

Sins of The Past by Dee Henderson/Dani Pettrey/Lynette Eason

You’re The One That I Want by Susan May Warren

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Have you read any of these 2016 releases?

Which one should I read first?

Book Review + Guest Post: A Royal Christmas Wedding by Rachel Hauck

19 Dec

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To purchase your copy, click here.

About the Book

Genre: Christian Romance/Christmas

Release Date: October 18, 2016

Book Format: Paperback & Ebook

a-royal-christmas-wedding-kd2-rev1-197x300Avery Truitt aches for true love—the kind she once shared with Prince Colin. Can she dare to hope for happily ever after, or is a fairy-tale ending beyond reach?

College volleyball star Avery Truitt has not seen her former flame, Prince Colin of Brighton Kingdom, since he suddenly pushed her away five years ago. But now, the sadness of losing her father and the joy of her sister Susanna’s pregnancy have brought Avery back to Brighton just in time for Cathedral City’s enchanting Christmas season.

Avery knows she can’t avoid seeing Colin—now the Kingdom’s most eligible bachelor—whether or not her heart is ready to relive the pain. But seeing him again might bring her the closure she needs after all this time.

When Colin finds himself at the center of a centuries-old Brighton tradition, he must decide whether to follow the path laid out before him or follow his heart to the only woman for whom he would ring the Pembroke Chapel Bell.

Can Colin convince Avery to meet him at the chapel on Christmas morning—as tradition dictates—or will Avery run back to her St. Simons home and pursue a coaching career as planned?

In the fourth installment of the Royal Wedding Series, New York Times bestselling novelist, Rachel Hauck, weaves a charming story of holiday romance as two broken hearts seek the love they once knew.

About the Author

rachel-hauck-hr-1-731x1024Rachel Hauck is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling, and award-winning author.

A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, Rachel worked in the corporate software world before planting her backside in an uncomfortable chair to write full-time in 2004.

She serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers and leads worship at their annual conference. She is a mentor and book therapist at My Book Therapy, and conference speaker.

Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband and pets, and writes from her two-story tower in an exceedingly more comfy chair. She is a huge Buckeyes football fan.

Guest Post from Rachel Hauck

I don’t think we can ever get enough of royals or Christmas, do you? The two just seem to go together.

The Bible tells us eternity is written on our hearts. (Ecc. 3:11) I wonder if it’s also written on our hearts to be princesses in a grand, beautiful, perfect kingdom.

That being said, welcome to The Royal Christmas Wedding blog tour. My deepest thanks to all the bloggers, reviewers, and readers for hosting and visiting this tour. I’m excited to share this story with you all.

The hero and heroine, Prince Colin and Avery Truitt, first met in Once Upon A Prince at King Nathaniel’s coronation.

I hadn’t planned to write a spinoff story with the two of them. In fact, I didn’t even know Prince Colin existed until Avery walked into the abbey for the coronation and glanced across the sanctuary into his eyes.

Here’s his introduction:

Lean, aristocratic with an outdoorsman ruddiness, he nearly made Susanna swoon when he winked at Avery.

I liked Colin immediately. So did Avery. As well as a lot of you.

When my publisher asked me to write their story, it would be two years before the book would release. Plenty of time, right?

But “time crunch” is the name of the game with most writers. Between life, rewrites, edits, and promotional activity, we often find ourselves hurrying toward a deadline. Well, at least I do.

In the fall of 2015 I was writing The Wedding Shop and A Royal Christmas Wedding at the same time.

I’d also dealt with a physical issue that left me shaky. Could I write two books in five months? Did I want to even make the attempt?

If I said no, publication dates would be pushed out, causing a year delay on A Royal Christmas Wedding. And I knew that was something I did not want to do.

Publishing is a long game. Books are contracted and due 12 to 18, even 24 months, before release dates. Time must be carved out for rewrites and editing, marketing and promotion. Review copies go out at least five months in advance.

So I agreed to write both books. I told my editor, “Diamonds come from pressure.”

Coming up with Avery and Prince Colin’s story wasn’t as easy as I’d planned. Since they met in Once Upon A Prince as teenagers, I struggled with how to advance their age and relationship, and how to present them as the book opened.

Where had their relationship gone “between the books?”

When I came up with the idea of the Pembroke Chapel bell, the story magic began to happen. One of the things I love in the royal wedding books is the fairytale aspect. Looking for something out of the ordinary.

Even though my writing time was tight, writing Avery and Colin’s story was a joy. Once again I wish I could visit Brighton, eat a puff, and royal watch for the Strattons!

I hope you found a few sweet spots in the story, all wrapped in Christmas holiday cheer, and enjoyed your time with me in Brighton Kingdom.

Merry Christmas!

Blog Stops

December 8: Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

December 8: New Horizon Reviews

December 8: inklings and notions

December 9: Reading Is My SuperPower

December 9: Redeemed Hope Dweller

December 9: Book by Book

December 10: His Grace is Sufficient

December 10: Blossoms and Blessings

December 10: Pause for Tales

December 11: Quiet Quilter

December 11: Ashley’s Bookshelf

December 11: Reviewing Novels Online

December 12: Bibliophile Reviews

December 12: Lights in a Dark World

December 12: Splashes of Joy

December 13: Moments Dipped in Ink

December 13: Neverending Stories

December 13: Through the Open Window

December 14: The Power of Words

December 14: Counting Pinecones

December 14: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS

December 15: Book Bites, Bee Stings, and Butterfly Kisses

December 15: Genesis 5020

December 15: CTF Devourer

December 16: Lighthouse Academy

December 16: God’s Little Bookworm

December 16: Christian Bookaholic

December 17: Smiling Book Reviews

December 17: God is Love

December 17: A Simple Life, really?!

December 18: A Holland Reads

December 18: The Scribbler

December 18: Faith * Love * Books

December 19: By The Book

December 19: Karen Sue Hadley

December 19: Southern Chelle

December 20: Faithfully Bookish

December 20: Books. Books. And More Books

December 20: A Baker’s Perspective

December 21: ASC Book Reviews

December 21: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card plus a copy of A Royal Christmas Wedding and a copy of The Wedding Shop. Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post to earn 9 extra entries in the giveaway! https://promosimple.com/ps/aaeb

My Impressions:

Christmas + a fairy tale = great reading! That’s the equation for Rachel Hauck’s A Royal Christmas Wedding, the final book in her Royal Wedding series. Readers met Avery Truett and Prince Colin in the first book in the series, and their whirlwind romance turned heartbreak finally comes full circle as Avery and her recently widowed mother join the royal family of Brighton Kingdom for the Christmas holidays. Neither characters have forgotten the sweetness of their time together nor the bitter taste of separation. But trust is hard to rebuild even when the heart longs for it.

I have loved all of Hauck’s books in this series. There is a sense of the magical both in the settings and in the tales that unfold. In A Royal Christmas Wedding, God intervenes when a Colin sends his heart’s desire heavenward. Who needs a fairy godmother when you have God on your side? And while the course of their love isn’t without obstacles, you know in the end there will be a happily-ever-after. In the Epilogue, Hauck also includes a wrap-up to all the love stories that took place throughout the series. A perfect ending for a wonderful series!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

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

Book Review: Restoring Christmas

15 Dec

618chyzgjql-_sx343_bo1204203200_Alexis Blake has one chance to land her own show on the Home Project Network and nothing, not an uncooperative client, a job site without indoor plumbing, or a challenging videographer, is going to stand in her way. Elsie, at seventy-plus, is far from the ideal client, but she knows exactly what she wants her fieldstone house to look like, and no designer can tell her otherwise. Gabe Langley, the man with the camera, is caught in the middle and it is his wisdom and warmth that just may be the bridge that will bring these two women together. Can they restore more than just a house and bring about special, almost lost forever Christmas memories?

 

cynthia-ruchti_green_couch1-1024x819Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed in hope through her novels, novellas, devotions, and nonfiction, and through speaking for women’s events/retreats and writers’ conferences/workshops. She draws from 33 years of experience writing and producing the 15-minute daily radio broadcast, The Heartbeat of the Home. Her books have received recognition from RT Reviewers’ Choice, PW Starred Review, Selah Awards, Christian Retailing’s BEST Awards, CLASSeminars Award of Excellence, Golden Scroll Awards, and more. She serves as Professional Relations Liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers, is a board member of the Deliver Hope ministry, and is part of the worship team at her church. She and her husband live in the heart of Wisconsin, not far from their three children and five grandchildren.

 

My Impressions:

Cynthia Ruchti’s latest Christmas-themed novella is the perfect addition for your holiday reading this year. Restoring Christmas is a story filled with humor, heart and hope. Alexis is a designer with dreams of a big break in television. She travels to small town Wisconsin to take on the challenge of restoring a home in just 8 weeks before Christmas. She soon finds that her plans must take a backseat to the story of the home and its owner, Elsie. Amidst obstacles, the project bumpily progresses, and Alexis grows in her appreciation for a true restoration.

While Restoring Christmas is a novella, I never felt short-changed in character development. Alexis is a woman driven to be the very best despite insecurities brought on my her childhood experiences. Cameraman Gabe has overcome a past as well, and his irritating enthusiasm and perkiness is the perfect foil for Alexis. It is their pasts and the past of the home they are restoring that points to the overall theme of how the past often comes to define us, unless we let God remake and restore us. One of my favorite lines in the book reflects the way God overcomes and makes new out of a mess — Our past converted into something more suitable for how we live today. (p. 211). Ruchti also uses setting to great effect. I now have Door County and its environs on my travel bucket list!

Restoring Christmas is a quick read, but it is one that will stay with you for a long time. Pick it up for your Christmas reading fix!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

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

Top 10 Tuedsay — New Books in The TBR Pile

8 Nov

Books, books and more books! That’s what my life looks like! I am always on the lookout for my next great read, even when I have 10s 100s 1000s waiting in the wings! This week the folks at The Broke And The Bookish have challenged us to list our most recently added books to the old TBR list. I will limit my list to just 10, although I could probably go on and on. To find out what other bloggers are looking forward to reading, click HERE.

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I think I have a good mix of books to read in the upcoming weeks — history, mystery, romance, Christmas-themed and Indie-published novels. Eclectic, but that’s how I like it.

Top 10 Recently Added Books on The TBR List

 

Another Day, Another Dali by Sandra Orchard

A Christmas to Remember by Linda Brooks Davis

Dressed for Death by Julianna Deering

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The End of The Roadie by Elizabeth Flynn

Finding Riley by Dan Walsh

Lucifer’s Harvest by Mel Starr

The Most Wonderful Time of The Year by Ace Collins

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O Little Town of Bethany by Rene Guttering and Cheryl McKay

The Princes of Albion by Jon and Thomas Hopkins

Truth Be Told by J J Hemmestad

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What are some of the books you are reading next?

 

 

Book Review: Always with You

31 Oct

61lg0uffslCan she move forward without knowing her past?
Will he enjoy his present if he can’t free himself from what he left behind?

In the heart of the Adirondacks, Isabelle lives in the shadow of a dark family secret whose silent burden strips her family of emotional warmth and faith in God. Tyler belongs to the religious sect called The Faithful, which Isabelle’s father dislikes immensely. Yet, because Tyler belongs to this group, Isabelle sees only a man devoted to his family and faith.

She wants it; she gets it; they marry.

And when the truth comes out, Isabelle faces two choices:
Staying could endanger her child.
Leaving could cost her life.

 

71jcufdehgl-_ux250_Elaine Stock writes contemporary fiction. If you enjoy family drama blended with psychological suspense, are curious to know how people can get themselves out of a mess that seems otherwise impossible, she hopes you will cozy up with one of her stories. Always with You is her debut novel. Elaine’s short stories were published in the best-selling Amazon anthology Christmas Treasures: A Collection of Christmas Short Stories and FamilyFiction’s The Story: 2014 Anthology. She is also a regular contributor to the HappySis Magazine. On her blog, Everyone’s Story, she joins guests weekly to help encourage hope to “readers, writers, and all those in-between”. You can visit her on her website: http://www.elainestock.com.

 

My Impressions:

Elaine Stock’s debut novel, Always with You is a chilling look into how one can be deceived when not prepared with the proper foundation of truth. In the story, eighteen year old Isabelle has lots of questions about her family’s secretive past. Both her father and grandmother are cold and seemingly unresponsive to Isabelle’s desires and needs. So when she finds a knight in shining armor, she is quickly swept up into a new world that promises family and love. But evil is often masked and her dream of a new life and love soon spirals into a nightmare.

Always with You has a definite YA vibe — two young people, deeply in love, with many obstacles from family and friends. Their story is told from the first person perspective of both. Isabelle and Tyler seem like two star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet with some neo and not-so-neo-Nazi influence thrown in. I really didn’t like either of the characters (or many others, for that matter). I couldn’t trust Tyler, and Isabelle was very, very naive. Often their love came across as being fueled more by hormones than deep emotion. There is a great deal of sexual tension between these two that, while not graphic, is a bit on the steamy side. The cult that Isabelle finds herself thrust into is scary-bad and a good warning to young adults and parents to keep their discernment honed. The story becomes a bit far-fetched at the end, and characters seem to change without any lead-in or development. A so-so read for me, it has many highly rated reviews, including this REVIEW by my friend and fellow blogger, Carrie. Make sure you read it to get another perspective.

Audience: YA to adults.

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

 

 

 

Book Review: The Thirteenth Chance

3 Oct

unknownBaseball star Will Vandergriff knows any number of women who would happily pretend to be his girlfriend. In a last-ditch effort to restore his good standing with his team’s higher-ups, he enlists the help of his neurotic, goody-goody neighbor. Schoolteacher Olivia Pratt might be a bit quirky and a bit of a loner, but she’s a lot more inviting than she knows. Will hopes that bringing her to his next game might revamp his reckless reputation and help get his career back on track. The only problem? The plan works a little too well. Not only do the higher-ups love Olivia, but Will plays his best game yet. Suddenly his losing streak is a thing of the past, and Olivia is his new good-luck charm. Will feels anything but lucky.

After years of keeping the world at bay, Olivia Pratt is pulling off the ultimate performance—not only reluctantly posing as Will’s girlfriend but also insisting that she’s oblivious to his major-league appeal. But she can only lie to herself for so long. Being by Will’s side feels good. Really good. Maybe it’s finally time to make a pitch for everything she really wants — and to find out just how exhilarating love can be.

 

amy-matayo-1Author Amy Matayo is an excellent speaker, mathematician, seamstress, chef…and liar. She’s decent at writing books but not much else. Then again, the book thing makes her marginally cool and a whole lot intimidating.

Not really. Not even her kids are afraid of her.

She graduated with barely passing grades from John Brown University with a degree in Journalism. But she’s proud of that degree and all the ways she hasn’t put it to good use.

She laughs often, cries easily, feels deeply, and loves hard. She lives in Arkansas with her husband and four kids and is working on her next novel.

Visit her website at http://www.amymatayo.com

You can also find Amy on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/amymatayo

Twitter: @amymatayo

Instagram: amymatayo.author

Snapchat: amymatayowrites

 

My Impressions:

Are you a baseball fan? Or do you just like to sink into a fun and funny contemporary romance? Well, either way you are in luck! Amy Matayo’s newest rom-com, The Thirteenth Chance definitely hits a home run. With two endearing main characters, some sassy dialog and sparks aplenty (not to mention an adorable cat) this novel was a fun, fun read. Now I am not much for sports, but this book had me ready to head to the stadium for some major league action. Amy did a good job of making the baseball world come to life. Or maybe it was just the chemistry between Will and Olivia that kept the pages flying. Quirky Olivia won my heart and cocky and infuriating Will was too cute to be mad at for long. The Thirteenth Chance can be categorized as a clean read, though there was a bit of mild language. All in all, Matayo’s novel should be a big hit with fans of this genre.

Recommended to fans of romantic comedy.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

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