30 November 2014

Book Launch, Review and Giveaway: Tess in Boots by Courtney Rice Gager

Tess Dougherty plans every aspect of her life right down to the last detail. But she doesn’t plan on running her boyfriend off by bringing up the topic of marriage before he’s ready. And she doesn’t plan to lose her job on the day she’s set to receive a huge promotion. So when her perfect world unravels, Tess makes a new plan: disappear.

Tess packs her bags and leaves her city apartment for a remote vineyard in North Carolina. At first, she’s put off by the slow pace of small-town life in the South. She’s especially irritated by Thatcher, the vineyard’s smart-mouth, dimple-faced farmhand. But she soon begins to appreciate the area’s charm, and Thatcher’s charm, too. She even swaps her trademark heels for a pair of cowboy boots. As Tess spends more time getting to know Thatcher, she finds herself loosening her grip on her old life little by little. Unfortunately, things on the vineyard aren’t as simple as they seem. There’s a secret here, and when the truth comes to light, Tess is forced to reconsider every plan she’s ever made.

You can find the book on Goodreads and through Anaiah Press. You can preorder Tess in Boots at Amazon, B&N, iTunes and Smashwords. Release date is 2 December 2014.

My Review

Tess Dougherty has the perfect life: handsome long-term boyfriend who’s about to propose, and a job as Marketing Director in a swanky New York office. Then she doesn’t. He doesn’t propose, she gives him an ultimatum, and then her entire firm is closed overnight. She retreats to North Carolina where her twin brother and his wife have just inherited a vineyard.

What follows is a fun romance full of confusion and secrets, starting with Tess asking for directions at what turns out to be a bachelor party, and getting mistaken for someone else. This is just the first of many misunderstandings and secrets which drive the plot forward. There’s also plenty of tension with Thatcher, the mysterious and handsome vineyard helper the local ladies warn Tess against. But why? And what is the significance of the boots?

At about the three-quarter mark I was starting to get worried. I was really enjoying Tess in Boots—like, Really Enjoying—but there was still this huge secret hanging over the plot and I was worried it might all fizzle out when the secret was revealed. (I’ve read novels like that before, where the tension ramps up and up and up at the thought of the secret, and it’s a huge let-down when the Big Reveal comes.

I had nothing to worry about. The secret was big enough, and somehow managed to ramp the tension up even more—in fact, I think this would be even more fun to read the second time around, knowing the secret and looking out for clues. Recommended for fans of fun contemporary Christian romance by authors such as Becky Wade, Denise Hunter, Carla Laureano and Andrea Grigg.

Thanks to Anaiah Press for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Courtney Rice Gager at her website.

Author Bio:

Courtney Rice Gager graduated from Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in communication and a minor in creative writing. Courtney is also the author of The Buggy List. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and daughter.

You can connect with Courtney at:

Website: http://www.courtneyricegager.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/CourtneyRGager
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/courtneyrgager
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/courtney_rice_gager
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CourtneyRiceGager
Google+: http://www.plus.google.com/+CourtneyRiceGagerWrites
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/courtneyricegager

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27 November 2014

Review: Just Over the Horizon by Susan Rush

An Unusual Christian Romantic Suspense Novel

Sarah Reeves is a visiting hospice nurse, and has just moved to a new three-month assignment where she meets handsome carpenter Nate Williams while looking less than her best. A lot less than her best, but that doesn’t prevent the two becoming friends as they care for Nate’s adopted father. Sarah gets more involved in the community, and is even asked out by a handsome young doctor, and she finds herself torn, and perhaps even wanting to settle in one place.

There were quite a few typos and glitches in the writing, but not enough to detract from a powerful and unusual story. In a way, it’s nice to see people die naturally (!) in Christian fiction, which more often features death through murder and violence. There is tragedy and death in Just Over The Horizon, but it’s dealt with in a beautiful way. I especially liked the idea that sometimes we have to remind ourselves that dying is sometimes a process, and we need to make that process as easy as possible.

But it wasn’t all maudlin. There was also a healthy dose of romance, a potentially less healthy dose of suspense, and the obligatory happy-ever-after ending (do not despise the happy-ever-after ending. It’s the reason I read romance). An enjoyable novel with an original viewpoint.

Thanks to Susan Rush and Astraea Press for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Susan Rush at her website.

22 November 2014

Cover Reveal: Grit of Berth and Stone by Lisa Dunn

Grit of Berth and Stone by Lisa Dunn
Surge, Anaiah Press


Banished for a foolish mistake, sixteen-year-old Grit of Berth and Stone scorns the loss of her home, her honor, and her only ally. Only the weak worry about such things.

But war is brewing all across Chasmaria, and as a group of rebels pull Grit into their ranks, she begins to question what strength, courage, and honor really look like. When faced with a horrible truth about herself, Grit must either fight her way back to Thresh or live with the blood of the innocent on her hands.

Release Date:
March 17, 2015

Book Links:

Author Bio:

As a child, Lisa Dunn fell asleep to her father’s fanciful bedtime tales and played with her own story ideas during the daylight hours. She now resides in a small southern town with her husband, four children, and an ever-changing assortment of pets. Local librarians habitually thank her for their job security. 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorlisadunn
Twitter:  @ScouterWife
 Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/21086727-lisa-dunn

21 November 2014

ARCBA Tour: The Songs of Jesse Adams by Peter

16 - 20 November 2014
is introducing

The Songs of Jesse Adams
Acorn Press


Peter McKinnon

About the Book:

Set in the turmoil of social change and political unrest of Australia during the 1960s, The Songs of Jesse Adams traces the meteoric rise of a boy from the bush – a farmer’s son who breaks away to follow his heart, his dreams and his love of music. But, as Jesse travels with his band and the crowds gather, it becomes clear that something else is afoot. This rock singer captivates and transforms a host of fans who hear his songs and encounter his touch. 

Lives are changed in unexpected ways and the enigmatic Jesse becomes a symbol of hope and freedom for those on society’s edge. But not all will celebrate the rising tide of influence of this charismatic figure whose words and actions challenge those in power – the media, the politicians, the church. In one tumultuous week this clash of ideals comes to a head – with profound consequences. 

Awash in all the protest and collapse of conservative Australia, the colour and madness that was the sixties, The Songs of Jesse Adams is a tale of conflict, betrayal and tragedy, but ultimately the triumph of love.

*Warning this book contains some language that some readers may find offensive*

About the Author

For seventeen years, Peter McKinnon held senior roles in some of Australia’s largest corporations, with a focus on human behaviour and organisational effectiveness. This culminated in his appointment in 1999 as Executive General Manager, People & Culture, of Australia’s then largest financial organisation, National Australia Bank.

In late 2006, Peter was approached to head up the global human resources function of  World Vision International(WVI), based in Los Angeles. WVI is the world’s largest humanitarian aid organisation, with over 40,000 employees in 100 different countries and countless volunteers working in highly diverse and challenging settings.

When he returned to Australia in late 2009, he committed to pursuing his creative interests more directly and began to write. ‘The Songs of Jesse Adams’ is the result.

Peter has been published in publications as wide-ranging as the ‘Age’, ‘The Australian Women’s Weekly’ and ‘4 x 4‘ magazine and regards winning a Pacific cruise for his writing as his crowning achievement in this field ! He has also written and produced several musicals.

Peter is a qualified psychologist, has studied theology, worked briefly as a minister and served on the Council of the MCD University of Divinity.

He lives in Melbourne with his wife Julie. This is his first book.

20 November 2014

Review: The Bridge Tender by MaryBeth Whalen

Not Whalen’s best

I’m going to admit two things before I start, because one in particular affected my enjoyment of The Bridge Tender. First, I thought it was a romance, because the book description I read when I downloaded it made it seem like an amusing romance about a widow finding second love. It even gave the guy’s name and occupation, so there was no mistaking what was ‘supposed’ to happen.

So when I was a quarter of the way though and the main character—the widow—hadn’t even met the guy, I was starting to get confused and a little annoyed. This wasn’t what I signed up for—dragging backstory and depressing introspection (yes, I get that she’s a widow. But I thought this was a romance, which means she’s supposed to be past her grief and ready to move on). I went back and checked the book description, and it had changed to this:
On their honeymoon, the new Mr & Mrs. Ryan Shaw made a pact: No matter the sacrifices along the way, one day they would return to Sunset Beach, North Carolina—this time to buy their own home.
But that dream was not to be. Seven years into a beautiful marriage, Emily is left a widow, heartbroken, and way past caring about anything.
Until a man approaches her, claiming to have something left to her from Ryan. Something secret.
Unsure if she can ever embrace a new life without her husband, but even less sure about continuing to stay where she is, Emily heads to the coast to keep her end of the promise she once made.
Without delay, she becomes immersed in the lives of the locals, including the reclusive bridge tender with an unexpected past. As the community debates over building a new bridge, Emily must decide whether she will build a bridge of her own, one that will take her out of a painful past and into the new life—and new love—that her lost love made possible.
Ah. Not a romance then, which might explain why it was taking so long for the romance to get going. Although, in my defence, it still takes a long time to get into even this plot. Emily doesn’t “head to the coast” to keep her promise until a quarter of the way into the book, and it takes even longer before she really gets “immersed” in the lives of a small group of locals.

The second thing was my fault entirely. I misunderstood the title. The ‘bridge tender’ refers to the person who looks after (tends) the bridge, not a tender moment concerning a bridge. My bad.

As a result, I found the plot dragged, Emily was depressing and introspective, and I didn’t enjoy The Bridge Tenderas much as I’ve enjoyed other novels by Marybeth Whalan.

Would I have enjoyed it more if I’d read this blurb instead? Maybe, but I found myself waiting for something unexpected to happen. It did, but it took a long time. Emily was a distant character all the way through, and while I could empathise with her as a widow still grieving the loss of her husband, it wasn’t exactly fun reading. This distance also worked against her in the second half of the story, where she was becoming more involved in the lives of the locals, as the distant viewpoint never made it feel like she was truly “immersed”.

However, the writing was solid and I liked the way the Christian message was woven subtly throughout the novel. But I’ve enjoyed other Marybeth Whalen books more (I think my favourite is She Makes It Look Easy, for the way it shows us it’s what inside that counts, not outward appearance, and that being 'perfect' isn't all it's cracked up to be).

Thanks to Zondervan and BookLook Bloggers for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Marybeth Whalen at her website.

18 November 2014

Review: A Promise to Protect by Patricia Bradley

Even Better than her Debut

I enjoyed Patricia Bradley’s first novel, Shadows of the Past, but I enjoyed A Promise to Protecteven more. Both are set in the small town of Logan Point, near Memphis, but you don’t need to have read Shadows of the Past in order to read this. While I have read both, I have to admit I’ve read so many novels in between that I don’t remember the details.

Ben Logan has stepped into his father’s shoes as Sheriff of Logan Point, and trying to find out the truth behind his father’s shooting. Tony Jackson said he had information, but now Tony’s been shot, is bleeding out, and asking Ben to protect his sister. Ben agrees, despite his uneasy relationship with Leigh.

Dr Leigh Somerall left Logan Point ten years ago, basically run out of town by Sheriff Tom Logan, who didn’t see her as a suitable girlfriend for his son. Now she’s back with her son, working in the Emergency department of the local hospital and staying with her brother, Tony.

Ben and Leigh are both hiding secrets, Ben about his fear of children, and Leigh about why she broke up with Ben all those years ago, and married so quickly afterwards. There’s nothing like a good secret to keep the pages turning, and these work well. When will they admit they are still attracted to each other, and confess to what’s holding them back?

Intertwined with these secrets is the bigger suspense plot. It soon becomes apparent that Tony’s shooting isn’t an isolated incident. The only question is: who is the next target? Ben or Leigh? And why?

Overall, A Promise to Protect is the perfect blend of romance and suspense, and I’ll be looking out for the next in the Logan Point series. Recommended for fans of Dee Henderson, Dani Pettrey, and Irene Hannon.

Thanks to Revell and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Patricia Bradley at her website.

17 November 2014

Review: Deceived by Irene Hannon

Irene Hannon at Her Best

Three years ago, Kate Marshall lost her husband and four-year-old son in a boating accident, and Kevin’s tiny body was never recovered. She’s now re-established herself as a career counsellor for abused women in St Louis, Missouri, far away from the rugged New York coastline which stole her family. But one day she hears a small blond boy at the mall asking a man—his father?--for a Poppysicle, a word she’s only ever heard Kevin use. She loses the boy in the crowd, and when the police aren’t interested, she approaches Phoenix Inc, an upmarket firm of private investigators, for help.

Connor Sullivan is immediately attracted to his new client, something he’ll have to ignore if they are working together. She has a strange story, but one that bears investigating. The more Connor investigates, the more he comes to believe that Kate is right, and the more he wants to see of her. But can they find out the truth before their search is discovered?

I’ve found the last couple of Irene Hannon romantic suspense novels I’ve read a bit flat. There was nothing technically wrong with them, but they didn’t have that spark of inspiration and originality I remember from her earlier books. I’m relieved to report that Deceived is back to Hannon at her best. Okay, the first meet between Kate and Connor was probably more corny than cute, but the suspense plot was excellent (and the romance worked nicely).

It’s an ambitious plot. Was the boy on the elevator Kate’s son? If so, is the man with him involved? How exactly does a four-year-old “drowning” victim resurface as a seven-year-old half a country away? Where has he been for the last three years? Who took him? And why?

At the same time as Kate and Connor are searching for the truth, we see Greg and Todd Sanders, to all outward appearances a loving father and son. This, in my view, is the real strength of Deceived, because Hannon hasn’t depicted a cliché “villain” but a likeable and well-rounded character that I sympathised with. After all, if Kate is right, Greg and Todd are about to have their worlds ripped apart. Writing likeable antagonists is a real skill, especially when it comes to their motives, and I commend Hannon on the way she dealt with Greg’s backstory. When the full story came out, it all seemed horribly plausible. Recommended.

Thanks to Revell and Netgalley for providing a free ebook for review. To find out more about Irene Hannon, visit her website.

14 November 2014

Review: A November Bride by Beth K Vogt


Sadie McAllister is a personal chef who dreams of TV stardom, but a chance conversation with one of her clients shows her that what she really wants is a family. Trouble is, she’s thirty and just been dumped by text message. Again. None of her relationships seem to last longer than a couple of months. Mind you, her best friend, Erik Davis, seems to have the same issue. And now he’s suggesting they date, obviously forgetting he turned her down when she asked him to the Sadie Hawkins dance seventeen years ago.

I recently reviewed All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes, which had a similar plot to A November Bride: a chef heroine who has spent years cooking for her male best friend who is secretly in love with her. I didn’t especially enjoy Cupcakes, because the central conflict (that they both loved each other but didn’t want to ruin the friendship by admitting it) didn’t work in a full-length novel.

However, A November Bride is a novella, and it works, both because of the shorter format, and because the characters are a little more prepared to take risks. It also helps that there were some scenes which were laugh-out-loud funny, especially their “chaperoned” date. But you’ll have to read it yourself.

A November Bride is part of the Year of Weddings series of novellas, each from a different author. While each one can be read and enjoyed as a standalone story, several link back to other books by the respective author.

Thanks to Zondervan and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Beth K Vogt at her website.

13 November 2014

Review: Buttermilk Sky by Jan Watson

Lovely Cover ...

I was attracted to Buttermilk Sky by the beautiful cover, and the interesting blurb:
Weary of the expectations imposed on her by her strict upbringing, eighteen-year-old Mazy Pelfrey prepares to leave her home in the Kentucky mountains for the genteel city of Lexington, where she’ll attend secretarial school. She knows her life is about to change—and only for the better. Everything will be blue skies from now on.
But business school is harder than she thought it would be and the big city not as friendly, until she meets a charming young man from a wealthy family, Loyal Chambers. When Loyal sets his sights on her, Mazy begins to see that everything she’d ever wished to have is right before her eyes. The only hindrance to her budding romance is a former beau, Chanis Clay, the young sheriff she thought she’d left firmly behind. 
Danger rumbles like thunder on a high mountain ridge when Mazy’s cosseted past collides with her clouded future and forces her to come to terms with what she really wants.

Unfortunately, this is one of those books where the person who wrote the blurb can’t have read the book. Mazy isn’t about to start secretarial college. She’s almost finished. Mazy is never in any danger. And she doesn’t even seem to be the main character: I first thought the novel was going to be about Cinnamon, who makes a living picking out rubbish at the dump. Then I thought it was Sheriff Chanis Clay, who was pining for a character who hadn’t yet been introduced, Mazy. Then the story introduced Mazy, and it became apparent she was the main character (which begs the question: why wasn’t she the first character we met?).

There were good things about the book. The writing was solid with flashes of brilliance (although there were also passages best described as pedestrian). The minor characters like Cinnamon, Clare and Eva, were interesting. And, as I’ve said, the cover is lovely, and it was obvious the author knew a lot about the time period she was writing in.

But that’s not enough to make up for the deficiencies. Mazy was an annoying character, in that I never understood why it was so important to her that she finish secretarial school, and she didn’t seem to have any plan for what she would do after. I also had no idea how old she was—while that was in the cover blurb, it wasn’t at all apparent from the text (her tender age may partially explain her lack of depth). Chanis was almost a comic figure, and it made for a confusing ‘romance’ when he didn’t have any day-to-day relationship with Mazy.

But the main problem for me was simply a lack of a coherent plot. There were plenty of things that happened, but there was no overall pattern, no story, to engage me. It read more like a series of scenes about some characters who may or may not be related. Perhaps the plot was supposed to be the love triangle between Mazy, Chanis and Loyal, but it was pretty obvious who she was going to choose (well, I thought so, after one of the pursuers showed himself to be charming yet ruthless). But all the interesting character change happened between the end of the final chapter and the epilogue. It felt like I'd read the entire book waiting for something to happen, then that bit got cut.

This is the first novel I’ve read by Jan Watson, and I suspect it will be the last. I think some of the characters (e.g. Mazy’s older sister) have featured in her previous novels, but I don’t think I would have enjoyed Buttermilk Sky even if I had read the earlier books.

Thanks to Tyndale House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Jan Watson at her website.

11 November 2014

Review: The Bound Heart by Dawn Crandall

Excellent Sequel

Meredyth Summercourt has been waiting for Vance Everstone to come to his senses, return to Boston, and marry her ever since their illicit liaison six years ago. But Lawry Hampton is back in town, and Meredyth finds herself attracted to her old friend … and he might just be in love with her as well, especially when they find out they have more in common than family background.

The Bound Heart is written entirely in the first person, from Meredyth’s point of view. While she is a reliable narrator, she’s also got some wrong ideas about herself, God, and redemption. Yes, she’s “ruined”, and she didn’t try and stop Vance, but that doesn’t mean she’s obligated to marry only him. There were times when I got quite frustrated with Meredyth, when she found out some things which called Vance’s character into question, but didn’t allow even these to sway her from her purpose. But I liked the way she changed, particularly towards the end of the story.

One possible fault in The Bound Heart is the character of Lawry. He’s almost too perfect. He’s been in love with Meredyth for years, yet he remains constant even though he knows she’s holding a torch for Vance. It would be natural to see him as a rather sad character, but instead he comes across as noble (in the same way as Michael Hosea in Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
), and a study in the eternal constancy of love. My other issue was with Vance: the way he behaved towards the end of the story didn’t ring true for me.

The Bound Heart is the second novel in The Everstone Chronicles, following The Hesitant Heiress (which I also reviewed, and thoroughly enjoyed--while The Bound Heart was good, The Hesitant Heiress was better). The final book in the series, The Captive Imposter, is due out next year and I’ll be looking forward to reading it.

Thanks to Dawn Crandall for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Dawn at her website.

10 November 2014

Review: The Land Uncharted by Keely Brooke Keith

Excellent Mix of Historical Romance and Science Fiction

Lydia Colburn is twenty-two, the unofficial doctor in the village of Good Springs, in The Land. She knows her profession means she’ll never get married, and she’s happy with that—after all, the only man in the village who has ever shown her any attention is Frank Roberts, who she finds disturbing. There’s no reason to suggest her life will be anything different until a stranger arrives from the sky: Lieutenant Connor Bradshaw, who has come from a place beyond The Land.

Connor is a naval aviator, ejected from his aircraft over the South Atlantic Ocean, and now rescued and resident on an uncharted island. How will he get back to his unit? Perhaps more importantly, does he want to? And can he prevent the outside world from finding him and The Land, and taking the precious resources?

The first part of the novel was setting the scene, introducing Lydia and the inhabitants and customs of Good Springs. While it was interesting enough, it did make the beginning rather slow as the plot doesn’t really start to take off until Connor arrives. We then get to see Connor’s confusion as he navigates this strange new land, his developing feelings for Lydia, and conflict with her protective brother--and the creepy Frank …

The history and culture of The Land was developed well, and without any uncomfortable information dumps. It’s an intriguing concept, an island that has always existed but can’t be seen by even the most modern navigation equipment. It also adds another layer to the plot: what would happen if the outside world knew about this paradise with healing trees, and no poverty? Especially given the outside world is at war over the kinds of natural resources The Land has?

The Land Uncharted is an enjoyable read, and I think the Epilogue suggests it’s the first book in a series. If so, I’ll certainly be looking forward to the next book.

Thanks to the author for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Keely Brooke Keith at her website.

7 November 2014

Author Interview and Book Giveaway: Narelle Atkins

Today I'd like to welcome Narelle Atkins, author of Her Tycoon Hero (which I reviewed yesterday. You can read my review here). Narelle's first book was published in February of this year, and this is her fourth—yes, fourth—title. It's been a busy year! Welcome, Narelle.

First, please you tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? What hobbies do you have (apart from reading and writing!)?

I grew up on the northern beaches in Sydney, Australia. I now live in Canberra with my husband and school-aged children, and I have a part-time job in retail. I’m in a season in my life where I don’t have a lot of spare time. Does going to the gym count as a hobby?

Only if you enjoy it! Otherwise it's just a good habit.

It’s said that authors should write the kind of book they like to read. What is your favourite genre? Who are your favourite authors?

Yes, this is true for me. My favourite genre is contemporary inspirational romance and I love reading books set in Australia. My favourite Aussie contemporary inspirational romance authors are Mary Hawkins, Andrea Grigg and Rose Dee.

Who are some of my favourite Aussie authors as well, although I've also got a soft spot for Paula Vince.

What was the last book you read? Would you recommend it? Why/why not?

Veiled at Midnight by Christine Lindsay. It’s the third book in her Twilight of the British Raj historical romance series set in India. I highly recommend this book and the entire series to readers who enjoy historical fiction set in exotic locations. Veiled at Midnight is a fascinating story set during a time of political and religious upheaval when the British Raj withdrew from India after WW2.

I've read Christine's two earlier titles, and I'm hoping to get a chance to read this as well. I've been fascinated by India for years, but there aren't a lot of Christian novels set there.

Her Tycoon Hero is a little more edgy than other Heartsong Presents novels, in that Cassie Beaumont has a history of alcohol abuse. What prompted this? Was it a hard sell to a publisher known for more conservative titles?

Her Tycoon Hero is the first book I wrote and I started this story back in 1998. I have family members who have struggled with alcoholism and addiction issues. I knew Cassie’s family background and alcoholism had led her to make unwise choices in the past.

I sold Her Tycoon Hero to Harlequin in September 2012, a month after they announced they’d bought the Heartsong Presents line from Barbour. My editor read Falling for the Farmer (you can see my review here), which led to a discussion on writing proposals for two 3-book series. The six books were contracted in March 2013.

The Heartsong Presents line is open to international settings and includes stories that deal with real life issues from a Christian perspective. Forgiveness and redemption are common themes in the line. My books are set in Australia with Aussie characters, which may have been a harder sell than the alcoholism issue.

Personally, I think the Aussie settings are a plus. Now, if only we could get some New Zealand settings ...

Ryan Mitchell is a successful businessman, but has his own issues, particularly his brother, Sean. One thing Her Tycoon Hero never really touched on was Ryan’s feelings about falling for his brother’s ex. Can you enlighten us on this?

My comments below contain spoilers. Please feel free to skip over this question if you haven’t read the book.

Cassie and Sean, Ryan’s brother, were close friends in a dysfunctional way, but they didn’t share a past romantic relationship. Cassie was too self-absorbed with her alcoholism to consider whether or not Sean had feelings for her. Sean had his own issues and problems. Cassie partied with Sean and she usually couldn’t remember much about what had happened because she was intoxicated. She gravitated to Sean because he indulged and enabled her emotionally unhealthy addiction and didn’t judge her.

Ryan knows that Cassie doesn’t have a romantic interest in Sean, and Ryan doesn’t see his brother as a threat. Ryan and Sean have a complex relationship, and Ryan is aware that his brother will make outrageous claims to get out of a tight corner.

How does your faith influence your writing?

My faith is an integral part of my life and I like to explore my character’s faith journey in the story. Their faith defines their values, morals and code of behaviour. It also influences their life goals and the decisions they make during the story.

Can you tell us a bit about your writing process? I understand you plot everything out in advance—how does this work? Why do you choose this approach?

I sell my books on proposal, which means I submit the first three chapters plus a detailed synopsis. It’s hard to write a great proposal if you don’t have a robust outline. The key story elements including the inciting incident, major turning points, climax, dark moment and resolution need to be included in the synopsis. I also know my hero and heroine’s GMC (goal, motivation and conflict) before I start writing. I use index cards because I find I’m more creative in the brainstorming stage if I’m using pen and paper rather than typing on the computer. I start outlining the main scenes and shuffle the scenes around until the basic story structure is in place.

I guess cards are easier to shuffle than an entire manuscript!

Her Tycoon Hero is the first book in your second trilogy, and I understand you’ve just finished writing the third book in the series, which completes your contract. What’s next?

I’m currently writing proposals for more books in my Snowgum Creek series. These stories are set in a fictitious small town near the Snowy Mountains in Australia.

Thanks Narelle! To celebrate the official release of Her Tycoon Hero yesterday, Narelle is giving away one print copy (worldwide, wherever The Book Depository delivers) to a reader who leaves a comment on this post

About Narelle

A fun loving Aussie girl at heart, Narelle was born and raised on the beautiful northern beaches in Sydney, Australia. She has settled in Canberra with her husband and children. A lifelong romance reader, she found the perfect genre to write when she discovered inspirational romance. Narelle’s contemporary stories of faith and romance are set in Australia. She sold her debut novel, Falling for the Farmer, to Harlequin’s Love Inspired Heartsong Presents line in a 6-book contract. Her Tycoon Hero is her fourth release and the first book in her Sydney series.

She blogs regularly with Australasian Christian Writers, International Christian Fiction Writers and Inspy Romance.

Narelle is also a co-founder of the Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance (ACRBA).

Website: http://www.narelleatkins.com
Blog: http://narelleatkins.wordpress.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NarelleAtkinsAuthor
Twitter: @NarelleAtkins https://twitter.com/NarelleAtkins

Her Tycoon Hero: Back cover blurb:

Cassie Beaumont Believes in Second Chances

Set on proving to everyone that she's no longer a party girl, Cassie is focused on her career as an event planner. But her dad's top executive, Ryan Mitchell, proves to be a handsome distraction. Especially when someone from Cassie's wild past tries to get her tangled in the life she's worked hard to escape.

Ryan is taken with his boss's beautiful daughter. But having been fooled by a brother who ran in her same circles, he is slow to trust. When Cassie's newfound faith works its way into his heart, Ryan soon finds he wants to claim both her faith and Cassie as his own.

6 November 2014

Review: Her Tycoon Hero by Narelle Atkins

3 - 7 November 2014
is introducing

Her Tycoon Hero
Heartsong Presents

About the Book

Cassie Beaumont Believes in Second Chances 

Set on proving to everyone that she's no longer a party girl, Cassie is focused on her career as an event planner. But her dad's top executive, Ryan Mitchell, proves to be a handsome distraction. Especially when someone from Cassie's wild past tries to get her tangled in the life she's worked hard to escape.

Ryan is taken with his boss's beautiful daughter. But having been fooled by a brother who ran in her same circles, he is slow to trust. When Cassie's newfound faith works its way into his heart, Ryan soon finds he wants to claim both her faith and Cassie as his own.

About the Author

NARELLE ATKINS writes contemporary inspirational romance and lives in Canberra, Australia. She sold her debut novel, set in Australia, to Harlequin's Love Inspired Heartsong Presents line in a six-book contract. She is also a member of International Christian Fiction Writers and Australasian Christian Writers group blogs.

Narelle is a co-founder with Jenny Blake of the Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance (ACRBA). http://acrba.blogspot.com

Her debut book, Falling for the Farmer, will be a February 2014 release, followed by The Nurse's Perfect Match in May 2014 andThe Doctor's Return in August 2014.

Twitter: @NarelleAtkins https://twitter.com/NarelleAtkinshttps://twitter.com/NarelleAtkins

Not Your Standard Heartsong Presents Novel

Cassie Beaumont is twenty-six and “no longer the unreliable daughter with a drinking problem”—if only her father would see that. And if only members of her family would stop trying to set her up with dates, especially with men who don’t share her newfound Christian faith. She especially doesn’t want to be set up with Ryan Mitchell, her father’s right-hand man, and the brother of her irresponsible ex-boyfriend, Sean. However, Ryan isn’t what she was expecting ….

Heartsong Presents romance novels are known for being more overtly Christian than other category romance novels (such as the Love Inspired series). They are also known for being more conservative, and I often find that combination comes across to me as unrealistic, as many seem to feature characters who live in a conservative Christian bubble in which nothing bad ever happens, and no one has any serious life issues (to be fair, it’s not just Heartsong that has this issue, as illustrated by much of the Amish romance genre).

Narelle Atkins doesn’t write those kind of novels, and Her Tycoon Hero takes this further than her previous novels, both in the topic and in the language (I’m surprised “screw up” got past the editors. Perhaps it means something different in the US). While Cassie has had a privileged upbringing in Sydney, Australia, it hasn’t been saccharine-perfect, as evidenced by her history of alcohol abuse and her past choice in boyfriends. No, it’s not typical Heartsong Presents, but it is typical of life. There are more Cassies (and Seans) out there than we know, and it’s good to see them working through their issues in Christian fiction.

I enjoyed Her Tycoon Hero, and I’ll be looking forward to meeting Cassie and Ryan again in the next book in the series.

Thanks to Narelle Atkins for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Narelle at her website. You can also find her blogging at Australasian Christian Writers, International Christian Fiction Writers, and Inspy Romance.

5 November 2014

Release Day Blitz: Love Overcomes by Angela Schroeder

Love Overcomes banner

Anaiah Press proudly presents LOVE OVERCOMES by Angela Schroeder, a contemporary romantic novel that releases today!

Single mother Arabella Mackenzie never imagined that going to California with her sister Clara would have such a huge impact on her life. Since the end of a disastrous relationship, Arabella has been wary of wanting or needing anyone other than her family. But when she meets hunky actor, Jeremy Fowlis, she begins to have feelings for a man for the first time since her three year old son was born. Now, she needs to try to overcome her past and learn to trust again.

Jeremy is not used to women who don't want to date him, or at least show him off to their friends - he is an in-demand actor, after all. He is tired of the shallow, avaricious attention that he gets from the public, but when he meets intelligent, cautious Arabella, she doesn't even know his name. Arabella’s grounded beauty captivates him instantly, but, he is wary of getting involved with a single mother with a complicated past.  

Can Arabella and Jeremy both overcome their doubts and fears in order to find love? 

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About the Author:

AngelaSchroederAngela was born and raised in Iowa, in a river town known for its pearl buttons. Having four siblings, she never lacked for someone to play with. As she grew older, she found herself pulled into books and writing more and more. Her parents are her heroes, her siblings her confidants and tormentors, and her children are a wonderful blessing.

Connect with Angela:
Website     Twitter      Goodreads     Facebook

4 November 2014

Review: A September Bride by Kathryn Springer

Short and Sweet

When Police Deputy Jesse Kent pulls over Annie Price, a newcomer to their small town of Red Leaf, Wisconsin, and finds she claims to be the manager of his mother’s bookstore, he’s immediately suspicious. It wouldn’t be the first time Lorna Kent had been misled by a stranger.

Annie Price is loving her new life in Red Leaf. The small town is like the family she never had, and volunteering for the local historical society is bringing her into contact with some of the town’s more eccentric residents … and handsome Jesse Kent, who seems to take an instant dislike to her. But they are thrown together when Annie is asked to play the bride in the town re-enactment of a historic wedding, and Jesse is her groom.

A September Bride is well-written, with a good mix of conflict and attraction between Annie and Jesse, an original plot and some fascinating minor characters. It even managed to squeeze in a second romance.

I have only two minor complaints. First, I often find romance novellas move too quickly. The low word count means the couple has to get from first meet to happy ever after in a short space of time, and that was certainly the case with A September Bride. I wasn't  convinced Annie and Jesse spent enough time together to guarantee that happy ever after. In this case, I think the secondary romance took valuable word count that should have been used to show more of the developing relationship between Annie and Jesse. Second, A September Bride is published by Zondervan, a publisher of Christian fiction, yet there is no Christian content (although I’m sure some people will see this as a positive).

A September Bride is part of the Year of Weddings series of novellas, each a standalone story from a different author. Thanks to Zondervan and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Kathryn Springer at her website.

3 November 2014

November New Releases

It's November, and it's time for the new releases in Christian fiction from Ellie at Soul Inspirationz.

I've already reviewed Lizzy and Jane (excellent!), and will be reviewing The Bound Heart
by Dawn Crandall later this month. Apart from that, I'll be catching up on my to-read pile and getting a sneak peek at some December releases.

What books are you looking forward to? What do you plan to read this month?