Tag Archives: Karen Barnett

Book Review: Ever Faithful

9 Jul

Vibrant historic Yellowstone National Park comes to life in this romantic mystery about a man hiding the truth, braving the west to become something more — and the woman who must confront his deception.

A man who can’t read will never amount to anything — or so Nate Webber believes. But he takes a chance to help his family by signing up for the new Civilian Conservation Corps, skirting the truth about certain “requirements.” Nate exchanges the harsh Brooklyn streets for the wilds of Yellowstone National Park, curious if the Eden-like wonderland can transform him as well.

Elsie Brookes was proud to grow up as a ranger’s daughter, but she longs for a future of her own. After four years serving as a maid in the park’s hotels, she still hasn’t saved enough money for her college tuition. A second job, teaching a crowd of rowdy men in the CCC camp, might be the answer, but when Elsie discovers Nate’s secret, it puts his job as camp foreman in jeopardy. Tutoring leads to friendship and romance, until a string of suspicious fires casts a dark shadow over their relationship. Can they find answers before all of their dreams go up in smoke?

 

Karen Barnett is the award-winning author of The Golden Gate Chronicles (Out of the Ruins, Beyond the Ashes, and Through the Shadows) and Mistaken. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, two kids, and three mischievous dachshunds. When she’s not writing, Karen enjoys photography, hiking, public speaking, decorating crazy birthday cakes, and dragging her family through dusty history museums. Oregon Christian Writers (OCW) honored her with the Writer of Promise Award in 2013 and a Cascade Award for her debut novel, Mistaken, in 2014. In 2016, she was named Writer of the Year by the prestigious Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. Karen is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Oregon Christian Writers (OCW) and has been published in Guideposts and other national magazines.

My Impressions:

I have loved my bookish trips back to the early days of the National Parks with Karen Barnett’s Vintage National Parks series. First I journeyed to Mt. Rainer, then to Yosemite, and now with the 3rd installment, I traveled to Yellowstone. Ever Faithful, a book set amidst the beauty and wonder of the oldest of the parks, is my favorite of the three. Filled with vivid descriptions, memorable characters, and a message of hope and healing, this historical romance receives a highly recommended rating from me.

I have never been to Yellowstone, but Barnett’s detailed descriptions sent me to the interweb to check out the awesome sights this park contains. I loved visiting via the book, and now have another destination to add to the bucket list. The Yellowstone backdrop with its mud pots, geysers, hot springs, and majestic forests and rivers was perfect for the development of characters Nate and Elsie. Both characters view themselves as imperfect — either too scarred to be beautiful or too dumb to ever amount to anything. As their relationship grows, each helps the other to see the beauty and purpose that God envisioned when He created them. The historical setting with the CCC corp and the early days of the parks was very interesting. I loved that the author includes endnotes to let the reader know the facts behind her fiction. One of my mother’s older brothers worked in the CCC, and Ever Faithful gave me a glimpse into his experiences. While billed as an historical romance, there is adventure and mystery — something for just about everyone!

For a road trip read or a staycation, Ever Faithful is the perfect choice. This fun book kept the pages turning! The only negative was that it ended too quickly!

Highly recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

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

Top 10 Tuesday — Baby Names Inspired by Favorite Characters

9 Jul

Today’s Top 10 Tuesday is a character freebie. My husband and I will be first time grandparents in early 2020 *woo hoo*, so it is time to bring out baby name suggestions. I am listing boy and girl names inspired by recent novels I’ve read. What do you think? (And no, I don’t really think any of the names on my list will be chosen by the parents! 😉 )

 

Top Baby Names from Recent Reads

Girls

Annie from All Manner of Things by Susie Finkbeiner

Belinda from Belinda Blake And The Snake in The Grass by Heather Day Gilbert

Camden from On A Summer Tide by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Cecile from The Pink Bonnet by Liz Tolsma

Elsie from Ever Faithful by Karen Barnett

Joanna from The King’s Mercy by Lori Benton

Kayden from Silenced by Dani Pettrey

Kiera from Sabotaged by Dani Pettrey

Rosa from The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke

Sophie from The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke

 

Boys

Alex from The King’s Mercy by Lori Benton

Itzhak from The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke

Kjell from Dawn’s Prelude by Tracie Peterson

Nate from Ever Faithful by Karen Barnett

Reef from Sabotaged by Dani Pettrey

Seth from On A Summer Tide by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Stone from Belinda Blake And The Snake in The Grass by Heather Day Gilbert

Tank from Alaska Twilight by Colleen Coble

Zach from More Than Words Can Say by Karen Witemeyer

Zander from Sweet on You by Becky Wade

What’s your favorite character name?

 

 

Happy Book Birthday — Ever Faithful

18 Jun

Happiest of book birthdays to Karen Barnett and her newest book in the Vintage National Parks series, Ever Faithful. I just love these historical romance novels set in the early days of the National Parks. Ever Faithful is set at Yellowstone National Park and is a great choice for your summer reading. Find out all the details below.

Vibrant historic Yellowstone National Park comes to life in this romantic mystery about a man hiding the truth, braving the west to become something more–and the woman who must confront his deception.

A man who can’t read will never amount to anything–or so Nate Webber believes. But he takes a chance to help his family by signing up for the new Civilian Conservation Corps, skirting the truth about certain “requirements.” Nate exchanges the harsh Brooklyn streets for the wilds of Yellowstone National Park, curious if the Eden-like wonderland can transform him as well. 

Elsie Brookes was proud to grow up as a ranger’s daughter, but she longs for a future of her own. After four years serving as a maid in the park’s hotels, she still hasn’t saved enough money for her college tuition. A second job, teaching a crowd of rowdy men in the CCC camp, might be the answer, but when Elsie discovers Nate’s secret, it puts his job as camp foreman in jeopardy. Tutoring leads to friendship and romance, until a string of suspicious fires casts a dark shadow over their relationship. Can they find answers before all of their dreams go up in smoke?

Karen Barnett is the award-winning author of The Golden Gate Chronicles (Out of the Ruins, Beyond the Ashes, and Through the Shadows) and Mistaken. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, two kids, and three mischievous dachshunds. When she’s not writing, Karen enjoys photography, hiking, public speaking, decorating crazy birthday cakes, and dragging her family through dusty history museums. Oregon Christian Writers (OCW) honored her with the Writer of Promise Award in 2013 and a Cascade Award for her debut novel, Mistaken, in 2014. In 2016, she was named Writer of the Year by the prestigious Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. Karen is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Oregon Christian Writers (OCW) and has been published in Guideposts and other national magazines.

First Line Friday — Ever Faithful

14 Jun

Happy First Line Friday, everyone! Today I am winding down my bucket list trip to Alaska, so I thought it fitting to feature a book that is set at another bucket list destination, Yellowstone National Park. Ever Faithful by Karen Barnett is an historical romance set in the early days of the park and is a great choice for you summer reading. This book releases in a few days, but you can pre-order it now! 😉

Please leave a comment with your first line and then head to Hoarding Books for more Friday fun!

 

Vibrant historic Yellowstone National Park comes to life in this romantic mystery about a man hiding the truth, braving the west to become something more – and the woman who must confront his deception.

A man who can’t read will never amount to anything–or so Nate Webber believes. But he takes a chance to help his family by signing up for the new Civilian Conservation Corps, skirting the truth about certain “requirements.” Nate exchanges the harsh Brooklyn streets for the wilds of Yellowstone National Park, curious if the Eden-like wonderland can transform him as well. 

Elsie Brookes was proud to grow up as a ranger’s daughter, but she longs for a future of her own. After four years serving as a maid in the park’s hotels, she still hasn’t saved enough money for her college tuition. A second job, teaching a crowd of rowdy men in the CCC camp, might be the answer, but when Elsie discovers Nate’s secret, it puts his job as camp foreman in jeopardy. Tutoring leads to friendship and romance, until a string of suspicious fires casts a dark shadow over their relationship. Can they find answers before all of their dreams go up in smoke?

Karen Barnett is the award-winning author of The Golden Gate Chronicles(Out of the Ruins, Beyond the Ashes, and Through the Shadows) and Mistaken. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, two kids, and three mischievous dachshunds. When she’s not writing, Karen enjoys photography, hiking, public speaking, decorating crazy birthday cakes, and dragging her family through dusty history museums. Oregon Christian Writers (OCW) honored her with the Writer of Promise Award in 2013 and a Cascade Award for her debut novel, Mistaken, in 2014. In 2016, she was named Writer of the Year by the prestigious Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. Karen is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Oregon Christian Writers (OCW) and has been published in Guideposts and other national magazines.

Top 10 Tuesday — Authors I’d Love to Meet

2 Oct

When I started this book blogging gig 9 years ago, I had no idea the great fun it would be. Never did I imagine that I would get to meet favorite authors in person! Can you say fangirl? I have had the pleasure of hosting author meet and greets, attending book events, and interviewing authors, many face to face. So when That Artsy Reader Girl challenged us to list the authors we would love to meet, I already had a list ready. I’ll get to meet some sooner than later — my book club is traveling to meet Lindsey P. Brackett, author of Still Waters, later in the month, and I am finally getting the chance to attend the Christian Fiction Reader’s Retreat next spring. Woo hoo!

Make sure to check out That Artsy Reader Girl to discover which authors other bloggers dream of meeting.

 

10 Top Authors I Want to Meet

(all info is taken from the authors’ websites or Goodreads)

Karen Barnett

Fueled by a passion for research and learning, and a secret desire to travel in time, author Karen Barnettcreates historical romances that draw readers deep into a story. She’s fascinated that even though human history is constantly changing, Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). The point where those two facts collide forms the basis for her writing–finding those moments when an ordinary person brushes up against the eternal.

A graduate of Valparaiso University and Oregon State University, Barnett’s debut novel, Mistaken, was released in 2013 and earned her the Oregon Christian Writers “Writer of Promise” award and a Cascade Award for best historical fiction. She also won the coveted “Writer of the Year” title from the prestigious Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference in 2016.

Karen spent several years working in outdoor education as a park ranger and naturalist for Mount Rainier National Park and Oregon’s Silver Falls State Park before becoming a stay-at-home mom and professional writer. She spends her free time hiking, taking photographs, dragging her kids through dusty history museums, and decorating crazy birthday cakes.

Karen lives in western Oregon with her husband, two teenagers, and three mischievous dachshunds.

To connect with Karen follow her on Facebook (KarenBarnettAuthor) and Twitter(KarenMBarnett).

Lynn H. Blackburn

I started writing in 2009 and my first book, Covert Justice, was published by Love Inspired Suspense in 2015. Hidden Legacy followed in 2017, and Beneath the Surface, the first book in my Dive Team Investigations series with Revell hits stores in March of 2018. The remaining books in that series will follow in November of 2018 and July of 2019. And hopefully a new series will come after that!

I write romantic suspense for a couple of reasons.

  1. I love romance. Happily ever romance where no matter how hard things have been, two hearts find each other and will cherish each other forever. I believe the reason romance is so popular is because our hearts were made for the Truest Love. No human relationship can ever compare to the eternal and all-consuming love God has for us, but I’m so glad we get to enjoy a little bit of heaven on earth with another person who has committed to stay with us no matter what.
  2. I love suspense. Not because I’m tough, but because I’m a huge chicken! In my books, I can be so much braver than I really am. I can be tough and defeat the bad guys and run into burning buildings. And my characters can wrestle with so many big questions — why God allows bad things to happen and how we can trust Him when it seems like He’s dropped the ball.

When I’m not writing, I lead a crazy busy life! I was born in Hendersonville, North Carolina and still claim the Blue Ridge Mountains as home. But I found my way to Clemson University for engineering school and married my college sweetheart, Brian, as soon as I graduated. We’ve been married for twenty years, have three children—Emma, James, and Drew—and live in the beautiful upstate of South Carolina.

Our daughter, Emma, has Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome and for a lot of years I considered myself to be a “therapy” mom. Having a child with a disability rocked our world, but God was both patient and faithful as we wrestled with our new reality. Being Emma’s mom has changed me in ways I never could have imagined and many things God has taught me about himself find their way into my books. Emma is a joy and a challenge — just like any other teenage girl! She loves her school, her friends, her books, and her electronic devices.

I adore having boys. They are so loud and so fun! James is our deep thinker and sports lover. He regularly asks questions I can’t answer and can tell us football scores from three years ago. We’re pretty sure he’ll make a great lawyer or a sports commentator! Drew is our youngest. He’s our comedian and our warrior child. He keeps us laughing and keeps me praying that God will use him as a champion for truth and justice.

After the boys came along, no one was more surprised (or reluctant) than me to find that God was leading us to homeschool them. I still have no idea how that happened, but I love it and count it a privilege to have them at home with me during this season.

As a family, we’re active in our church, love to read, spend time outdoors, hang out with our extended families, workout at our CrossFit box and cheer for Clemson — Go Tigers!

Lindsey P. Brackett

Award-winning writer, Lindsey P. Brackett once taught middle grades literature, but now she writes her own great works in the midst of motherhood. A blogger since 2010, she has also published articles and short stories in varying publications. In 2015, she joined Splickety Publishing Group as Editor of Web Content, and in 2017 she migrated over to Firefly Southern Fiction as a general editor. Her popular column, Just Write Life, appears bi-weekly for The Northeast Georgian and weekly in The Elberton Star.

Her love of family ties and southern places prompted her first southern fiction novel, Still Waters, a four-star Romantic Times review being called a “brilliant debut”.

She makes her home at the foothills of Appalachia with her husband and their four rowdy children. They lose library books, brew strong coffee, and quit homeschool.

Contact her on social media or email: lindsbrac@gmail.com.

She’d much rather talk to you than wash the dishes.

Rachel Dylan

Rachel Dylan writes legal thrillers and legal romantic suspense. Rachel has practiced law for over a decade including being a litigator at one of the nation’s top law firms. She enjoys weaving together legal and suspenseful stories. Rachel writes the Atlanta Justice Series which features strong, female attorneys in Atlanta. Deadly Proof, the first book in the Atlanta Justice series, is a CBA bestseller, a Daphne du Maurier Finalist, a Holt Medallion Finalist, and an FHL Reader’s Choice Award Finalist. Rachel lives in Michigan with her husband and five furkids – two dogs and three cats. Rachel loves to connect with readers. She is represented by Sarah Younger at Nancy Yost Literary Agency.  You can find Rachel at http://www.racheldylan.com.

Susie Finkbeiner

Susie Finkbeiner is a novelist from West Michigan. She is the bestselling author of A Cup of Dust: A Novel of the Dust Bowl (Kregel, 2015), A Trail of Crumbs: A Novel of the Great Depression, and A Song of Home: A Novel of the Swing Era (Kregel, 2017).

Her next two novels will release in 2019 and 2020 with Revell Publishing.

She is also the author of My Mother’s Chamomile (WhiteFire, 2014) and Paint Chips (WhiteFire, 2013).

Susie is a wife, mother of three, and avid reader. She enjoys time with her family, coffee dates with her good friends, and quiet moments to read and write.

Jody Hedlund

Winner of the 2016 Christian Book Award and finalist for the Christy Awards, best-selling author Jody Hedlund writes inspirational historical romances for both youth and adults.

Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).

When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.

Dani Pettrey

A consummate world traveler: Africa, South America, Australia—been there, done that.

A die-hard thrill seeker: heli-skiing, cave diving, storm kayaking—if it’s extreme, she’s there.

A bullet-dodging, high-speed-car-chasing, treasure-hunting adventurer.

An antiquities theft investigator, FBI agent, archaeologist, forensic anthropologist, and a detective who tracks down justice for a living.

Okay, not really, but her characters are. And, that’s why she loves the passion God has placed in her for telling stories.

In real life, Dani Pettrey is a wife, former homeschooling mom and author. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves–the thrill of adventure, nail-biting suspense, the deepening of one’s faith and plenty of romance. She’s a huge fan of dark chocolate, is always in search of the best iced mocha and her dream is to one day own a little cottage on a remote stretch of beach. She and her husband reside in Maryland, where they enjoy time with their two daughters, son-in-law, and 2 super adorable grandsons.

Just in case you’re curious…The real Dani does love traveling. She’s been to some amazing places (Greece, Hawaii, the Keys) and there are many more she hopes to visit in the future.

And while she’s not quite up to sky-diving, cave diving or heli-skiing (too high, too enclosed, too cold!) she and her family love hiking, canoeing, wave jumping and a ton of other outdoor adventures a little further down on the risk scale.

Jill Eileen Smith

Jill Eileen Smith is the bestselling, award-winning author of the Wives of King David series, the Daughters of the Promised Land, the Wives of the Patriarchs, and the Loves of King Solomon series. Her research has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times.

When she isn’t writing, she loves to spend time with her family and friends, read stories that take her away, ride her bike to the park, snag date nights with her hubby, try out new restaurants, or play with her lovable, “helpful” cat Tiger. Jill lives with her family in southeast Michigan.

Catherine West

Catherine West writes stories of hope and healing from her island home in Bermuda. When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or reading books by her favorite authors. She and her husband have two grown children and one beautiful granddaughter. Catherine is the winner of the 2015 Grace Award (Bridge of Faith) and the Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope & Love Reader’s Choice Award (The Things We Knew). Catherine loves to connect with her readers and can be reached at Catherine@catherinejwest.com

 

Jaime Jo Wright

If I were to summarize my life in three words, my instinct is to say: “I love coffee”, and leave it at that. But, I realize that is rather shallow and a tad obsessive. So, summarizing who Jaime Jo Wright is can be a challenge.

I love life. I always have. God has blessed me, even in severe trials, such as the loss of three of my babies. He has never failed, never given up, never gone easy on me, and always disciplined me with a loving hand. (and trust me, when you have my personality which pushes boundaries and considers rules to be negotiable, you need discipline). Our ship was joined by a little Tinkerbell in 2009. Our CoCo has tamed the pirate exponentially better than I ever could. Peter Pan came along in 2012 and whisked me away to Neverland where we refuse to grow up and make mischief on a daily basis.

 

Book Review: Where The Fire Falls

7 Jun

Stunning Yosemite National Park sets the stage for this late 1920s historical romance with mystery, adventure, heart, and a sense of the place John Muir described as “pervaded with divine light.”

Watercolorist Olivia Rutherford has shed her humble beginnings to fashion her image as an avant-garde artist to appeal to the region’s wealthy art-collectors. When she lands a lucrative contract painting illustrations of Yosemite National Park for a travel magazine, including its nightly one-of-a-kind Firefall event, she hopes the money will lift Olivia and her sisters out of poverty.

After false accusations cost him everything, former minister Clark Johnson has found purpose as a backcountry guide in this natural cathedral of granite and trees. Now he’s faced with the opportunity to become a National Parks Ranger, but is it his true calling?

As Clark opens Olivia’s eyes to the wonders of Yosemite, she discovers the people are as vital to the park’s story as its vistas–a revelation that may bring her charade to an end.

Karen Barnett is the award-winning author of The Golden Gate Chronicles (Out of the Ruins, Beyond the Ashes, and Through the Shadows) and Mistaken. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, two kids, and three mischievous dachshunds. When she’s not writing, Karen enjoys photography, hiking, public speaking, decorating crazy birthday cakes, and dragging her family through dusty history museums. Oregon Christian Writers (OCW) honored her with the Writer of Promise Award in 2013 and a Cascade Award for her debut novel, Mistaken, in 2014. In 2016, she was named Writer of the Year by the prestigious Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. Karen is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Oregon Christian Writers (OCW) and has been published in Guideposts and other national magazines.

 

My Impressions:

My happy place is a cabin nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. While it doesn’t match the majestic peaks found out west, my views are still awe-inspiring. There is just something about the mountains! That’s one of the reasons I like Karen Barnett’s Vintage National Parks series — she brings to life the early days of the National Parks and the beauty of God’s handiwork. In her latest book, Where The Fire Falls, readers travel to Yosemite circa 1929. This well-researched novel explores the wonders of Yosemite while capturing the era so well. This one is another recommended read!

Artist Olivia Rutherford has remade herself. The packaging matches what she thinks art collectors want — a sophisticated flapper. But Olivia has a past that she tries to run from all the while being held captive by devastating secrets. When offered a prestigious job painting scenes of Yosemite, she wavers, but how can she give up the lure of fame and fortune?

As I stated above, I loved the setting of Where The Fire Falls. It was such a treat to visit the hotels, camps, and join in on the entertainments that have long passed away. Of course, the beauty of the national park remains today, but barring a bucket list trip, I will have to be content to enjoy it through the author’s detailed descriptions. The characters of Olivia and Clark are wonderfully written. The two main characters have complex spiritual journeys that readers can identify with — both feel a weight of judgment from their past experiences. Supporting characters add depth to the story. Mystery, peril, and romance in store for Olivia and Clark keep the pages turning. There is really something for everyone in this story!

Although part of a series, Where The Fire Falls can be read as a standalone. But when you are finished with this one, you’ll want to head over to Mt. Ranier and The Road to Paradise for more adventure and romance! I can’t wait for more from Barnett!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

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

 

Happy Book Birthday! Where The Fire Falls

5 Jun

Happy Book Birthday to Karen Barnett! Here newest book in the Vintage National Parks Novel series, Where The Fire Falls, releases today. Check it out!

Watercolorist Olivia Rutherford has shed her humble beginnings to fashion her image as an avant-garde artist to appeal to the region’s wealthy art-collectors. When she lands a lucrative contract painting illustrations of Yosemite National Park for a travel magazine, including its nightly one-of-a-kind Firefall event, she hopes the money will lift Olivia and her sisters out of poverty.

After false accusations cost him everything, former minister Clark Johnson has found purpose as a backcountry guide in this natural cathedral of granite and trees. Now he’s faced with the opportunity to become a National Parks Ranger, but is it his true calling?

As Clark opens Olivia’s eyes to the wonders of Yosemite, she discovers the people are as vital to the park’s story as its vistas–a revelation that may bring her charade to an end.

 

Karen Barnett is the award-winning author of The Golden Gate Chronicles (Out of the Ruins, Beyond the Ashes, and Through the Shadows) and Mistaken. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, two kids, and three mischievous dachshunds. When she’s not writing, Karen enjoys photography, hiking, public speaking, decorating crazy birthday cakes, and dragging her family through dusty history museums. Oregon Christian Writers (OCW) honored her with the Writer of Promise Award in 2013 and a Cascade Award for her debut novel, Mistaken, in 2014. In 2016, she was named Writer of the Year by the prestigious Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. Karen is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Oregon Christian Writers (OCW) and has been published in Guideposts and other national magazines.