Tag Archives: contemporary romance fiction

Book Review: The Gift of Christmas Past

6 Dec

Arson wasn’t the only fire that ignited between them.

Promises shattered.

Lies spoken.

She was arrested.

He returned to the safety of his wealthy parents.

Almost ten years later, Hadley and Monroe are both specialists in the field of speech therapy. They meet again . . . thrown together to help a four-year-old-girl rendered mute after being rescued from a fire.

Years of secrets and anger beg to be set free as Hadley and Monroe try to push aside past hurts and find common ground in order to help the traumatized child and her family.

Can the love of Christmas past drift into the present, bringing healing and hope for all?

 

Cindy Woodsmall is the “New York Times” and CBA best-selling author of eighteen works of fiction. She’s been featured in national media outlets such as ABC’s “Nightline” and the “Wall Street Journal”. Cindy has won numerous awards and has been finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards. Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains in Flowery Branch, GA.

Erin Woodsmall is a writer, musician, wife, and mom of three. She has edited, brainstormed, and researched books with Cindy for almost a decade. She is very excited about their first coauthored book.

Find out more about Cindy and Erin at http://www.cindywoodsmall.com.

 

My Impressions:

The Gift of Christmas Past by Cindy Woodsmall and her daughter-in-law Erin Woodsmall is a departure from the best-selling author’s usual Amish genre. This new venture is a treat! While the setting may be different, this Christmas novella is still filled with the same heart that fans have come to love. My book club is reading this book later this month, and I look forward to a lively discussion.

Hadley and Monroe are just seventeen years old when they fall in love. Vowing to stay together, they are soon ripped apart by false accusations, family pressures, and obstacles stacked against them. Nearly 10 years later, as Hadley is close to reaching her dream of becoming a licensed speech therapist, another unfortunate fire and a hurting little girl throw the two together. But there are a number of past secrets that work to keep them separated yet again.

The authors set up a no-win situation for Monroe and Hadley in their early years. Both characters feel deeply, but their vulnerability, inexperience, and young age work against them. They are trapped by others’ perceptions and prejudices. I felt they were realistically portrayed in the early part of the book. But while Hadley’s character continues to be credible (I really liked her!), I found Monroe naive and immature even as an adult. For someone with many achievements and a great deal of responsibility, his reliance on his parents seems a bit unbelievable. But his character grows up and grew on me. By the end of the book he is a man of convictions and principles. Supporting characters are well-developed, especially Elliott and Trent. The Gift of Christmas Past is no fluffy novella. Serious issues are explored, and I found myself intrigued by the speech problems presented and the plight of at risk teens, especially those in the foster care system. This book is a meaty read without being too heavy — its great strength. In the epilogue, readers find the characters 4 years in the future — and what a great future it is. This one has a happy ending!

The Gift of Christmas Past promises great things for the duo of Cindy and Erin Woodsmall. I look forward to more from the two in the future.

Recommended.

Audience: older teens and adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

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

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December Book Club Selection — The Gift of Christmas Past

3 Dec

This month, By The Book is reading a book by one of our favorite authors and her daughter-in-law! The Gift of Christmas Past is the collaborative effort by Cindy and Erin Woodsmall. We would love for you to join us!

Arson wasn’t the only fire that ignited between them. 
Promises shattered.  
Lies spoken.
She was arrested.  
He returned to the safety of his wealthy parents.
 
Almost ten years later, Hadley and Monroe are both specialists in the field of speech therapy. They meet again . . . thrown together to help a four-year-old-girl rendered mute after being rescued from a fire. 



Years of secrets and anger beg to be set free as Hadley and Monroe try to push aside past hurts and find common ground in order to help the traumatized child and her family.



Can the love of Christmas past drift into the present, bringing healing and hope for all?

Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times, CBA, ECPA, and USA Today best-selling author who has written seventeen (and counting!) works of fiction and one of nonfiction.

Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains in their now empty nest.

If you’d like more information or to contact her, you can go to her website: http://www.cindywoodsmall.com or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/authorcindywoodsmall

Erin Woodsmall is a writer, musician, wife, and mom of three. She has edited, brainstormed, and researched books with Cindy for almost a decade. She is very excited about their first coauthored book.

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Winter TBR

28 Nov

Although winter is officially a few weeks away, it is never too early to make a list for those long evenings when only a cup of something warm, a cozy chair and afghan, and a good book will do. Here’s my Top 10 Winter TBR — including review books and book club selections. Looks like I have a lot of good reading ahead! For more reading lists for the long winter months, check out The Broke And The Bookish.

 

Top 10 Winter TBR

The Gift of Christmas Past by Cindy and Erin Woodsmall

Guilt by Association by Heather Day Gilbert

The Heart Between Us by Lindsey Harrel

Imperfect Justice by Cara Putman

In This Moment by Karen Kingsbury

Life on The Porcelain Edge by C. E. Hilbert

A Passionate Hope by Jill Eileen Smith

A Song of Home by Susie Finkbeiner

Stars in The Grass by Ann Marie Stewart

Vanishing Point by Lisa Harris

 

What’s on your winter TBR list?

 

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Thankfulness Edition

21 Nov

I have been a nag, bully, proponent of Christian fiction for some time now. Not only can you be sure of a clean read, but you get a book that encourages, enlightens, or just plain entertains. It’s no surprise — God is the master storyteller! And when you have an author who wants to bring glory to Him, then you are sure to have a winner. So when the folks at The Broke And The Bookish set this week’s theme as Books I Am Thankful For, I knew I would have a hard time sticking to just 10. I decided to pick the books I have read in 2017 that made me think, taught me something, or were a joy to read. I kept the list to an even dozen. To find out what books other bloggers are thankful for, click HERE.

A Dozen Books I Am Thankful For

A Fragile Hope by Cynthia Ruchti

Ghost Heart by Lisa Harris and Lynne Gentry

Home at Last by Deborah Raney

How Sweet The Sound by Amy Sorrells

The Long Highway Home by Elizabeth Musser

Long Way Gone by Charles Martin

Many Sparrows by Lori Benton

A Trail of Crumbs by Susie Finkbeiner

A Time to Stand by Robert Whitlow

True to You by Becky Wade

Why The Sky Is Blue by Susan Meissner

Yankee in Atlanta by Jocelyn Green

 

Book Review (+ Giveaway!): Charming The Troublemaker

14 Nov


About the Book

Title: Charming the Troublemaker

Author: Pepper Basham

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: November 1, 2017

Troublemaking never looked so good…

When Dr. Alex Murdock is demoted to a university in rural Virginia, the last thing he expects to find is a future. But country charm never looks as good as it does on Rainey Mitchell.

Rainey Mitchell doesn’t need a high-class flirt in her wounded world, but trouble and temptations wafts off the new professor as strong as his sandalwood-scented cologne.

When circumstances thrust them together to save her tutoring clinic, can the troublemaker find the hero inside and encourage the reticent Rainey to open her heart again.

Click here to purchase!

About the Author

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes novels inspired by her love for history and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her Penned in Time series has garnered recognition in the Inspys, Grace Awards, and the ACFW Carol Awards. Her contemporary romance novel, A Twist of Faith, received 4-stars from Romantic Times, and most recently, her newest release, The Thorn Healer, received a Top Pick from RT with 4 ½ stars. Her newest contemporary romance, Just the Way You Are, releases in April 2016. You can get to know Pepper on Facebook, or over at her group blog, The Writer’s Alley, or Instagram.

My Impressions:

Looking for a contemporary romance with wit, heart, and some swoon worthy moments? Then you need to check out Charming The Troublemaker, the second book in Pepper Basham’s Mitchell’s Crossroads series. This book has everything I look for in a romance — endearing and engaging characters, a plot that is not predictable, and smart and sassy dialog. It gets a recommended rating from me.

Rainey Mitchell is gun-shy when it comes to relationships and with good reason. So when the oh-so charming Dr. Alexander Murdoch becomes a part of the faculty at her regional university, she is skeptical about his interest. But the two can’t help but be thrown together. And despite her reservations, Alex seems to be more than a handsome face and charming personality. His sincerity and caring are the real deal. But of course, complications arise, and betrayal seems to be around the corner for Rainey once again.

I love the setting of Basham’s novels — small town Appalachia. I felt like I was right at home, especially when Mama Mitchell and the rest of the Mitchell clan gather. Alex is a hunky character with a big heart. Rainey is standoffish, but her past track record makes her a very believable character. Supporting characters are wonderful, including Rainey’s daughter Sarah. I loved the interactions between her and Alex. The romance is sweet, but there are definitely some rocky moments. And a bit of danger and suspense is thrown in to spice it up. All in all a good mix.

Although Charming The Troublemaker is the second book in the series, it is easily read as a standalone. But this is a great series, so be sure to check out Twist of Faith.  There are more Mitchell siblings, so I am looking forward to a few more great romances.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

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

Guest Post from Pepper Basham

I have a thing for underdogs.

Misfits.

Lots souls who desperately need to find where they belong.

I can’t help it! Call it a ‘fix-it’ mentality or an awareness that God rescued me and now I want to rescue other people…even fictional characters, but I’m definitely a softy for those characters that people are less likely to root for. Catherine from The Thorn Bearer/Keeper became my first rescue…and I just HAD to find another.

I guess that’s how Charming the Troublemaker came into existence.

Dr. Alex Murdock desperately needed to be rescued.

In a bad way.

If you’ve had a chance to read my first book in the Mitchell’s Crossroads series, A Twist of Faith, you’ll know that Alex doesn’t seem to be made up of much hero material. He’s a flirt, a little arrogant, and…well, kind of like a lost puppy.

As book 1 grew and came to a close, I knew Alex and Rainey’s story would be next…but I immediately ran into a real problem.

Who in the world was Alex Murdock? We really didn’t get to know him very much in book 1. He zoomed in a few times, ruffling feathers and then finally showing off some interesting kindness/compassion in the end, but…he was still a big-time flirt.

So the question emerged: Can a flirt be a hero?

What is Alex hiding behind that ready smile and sense of humor? Why does he seem so lost?

The answers were surprising!! Just wait.

The Mitchell family draw him right in, as they did with Dee, and his world is forever changed.

And then there’s Rainey. Strong-willed and independent, she is deeply wounded by her ex-husband’s betrayal. Though she gives off all these ‘confident’ vibes, she hides her insecurities behind a tough exterior in a desire to keep people at a distance – well, everyone except her family.

Alex rocks her world with his ready charm.

And she sees beyond the plastic grin to recognize another wounded soul.

Throwing them together into a book has been a hilarious and heart-stirring adventure, I wasn’t prepared to encounter. They’re so much fun!

AND…he’s ADORKABLE!! Seriously!! He is SUCH a dork, but makes me grin. And…he looks like Armie Hammer 😉

Let me just give you a hint to some of my favorite scenes:

Anything with Sarah!

Underoos

All of the scenes in Rainey’s house

And those in Mama Mitchell’s

Okay, I like the WHOLE STORY…and I can’t wait to see what you think too.

Blog Stops

Just the Write Escape, November 14

Avid Reader Book Reviews, November 15

Reading Is My SuperPower, November 15

Moments Dipped in Ink, November 15

Fiction Aficionado, November 16

autism mom, November 16

Fiction, Faith, and Fun, November 17

Inklings and Notions, November 17

Faithfully Bookish, November 18

Radiant Light, November 18

Reflections From My Bookshelves, November 19

The Power of Words, November 19

Cordially Barbara, November 20

Red Headed Book Lady, November 20

Smiling Book Reviews, November 20

Kat’s Corner Books, November 21

A Greater Yes, November 21

100 Pages per Hour, November 22

Splashes of Joy, November 22

Carpe Diem, November 23

Bookworm Mama, November 23

A Baker’s Perspective, November 24

The Important Things in Life: God, Books, & Chocolate, November 24

Daysong Reflections, November 25

Rachel Scott McDaniel, November 25

Remembrancy, November 26

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 26

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, November 27

Karen Sue Hadley, November 27

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Pepper is giving away a grand prize of a paper copy of A Twist of Faith, a mug from the Blue Ridge Parkway, one driftwood scented candle, one mango scented candle, and a Troublemaker snickers 😉 highly appropriate. Chocolate with a nutty personality :)!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c1f1

Top 10 Tuesday — Unique Book Titles

24 Oct

Besides the cover art, the title of a book is one of the most important means for getting a reader to pick it up. Sometimes the title is inspired by a quote within the book, other times it is a play on words featuring the subject. Whatever, the source, I admire the authors/editors/publishers’ creativity in coming up with the title. This week the folks at The Broke And The Bookish are challenging bloggers to share Unique Book Titles. Where do I start! This truly is a tough topic. I decided to go with book titles inspired by Art/Music/Literature. Some I have read; others are languishing on my shelves. All are worthy of a look!

 

Top Unique Book Titles from Art, Music, and Literature

 

Art

A Fool And His Monet by Sandra Orchard

Another Day, Another Dali by Sandra Orchard

Over Maya Dead Body by Sandra Orchard

Music

Cold As Ice by M. K. Gilroy

Cuts Like A Knife by M. K. Gilroy

Every Breath You Take by M. K. Gilroy

How Sweet The Sound by Amy Sorrells

It Had To Be You by Susan May Warren

Murder Mezzo Forte by Donn Taylor

Rhapsody in Red by Donn Taylor

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

 

Literature

Annabel Lee by Mike Nappa

The Dashwood Sisters Tell All by Beth Patillo

Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay

Jane Austen Ruined My Life by Beth Patillo

Lizzie And Jane by Katherine Reay

The Raven by Mike Nappa

 

What Are Some Unique Book Titles You Love?

First Line Friday + Giveaway!

13 Oct

Welcome to First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books! I am so excited to join in on the fun! To participate all you have to do is grab the closest book handy, open it to the first page, and share the first line in the comments, then head over to Hoarding Books to find other participating blogs (look for the linky in their post). Easy peasy!

 

I am featuring a contemporary Christmas romance for my first foray into FLF — The Gift of Christmas Past by Cindy and Erin Woodsmall.

 

To sweeten the experience I am giving away a copy of The Gift of Christmas Past and a copy of Cindy’s final book in the Amish of Summer Grove series, Gathering The Threads! Your first line comment will enter you in the giveaway. The winner will be notified next Thursday (10/19/17).