Posted in Christian, Giveaway, Guest Post, Historical, romance on June 26, 2017

HEART ON THE LINE

Ladies of Harper’s Station #2

by

Karen Witemeyer

  Genre: Christian / Historical / Frontier Romance

Publisher: Bethany House

Date of Publication: June 6, 2017

Number of Pages: 336

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Grace Mallory is tired of hiding. She hungers for a normal life, perhaps even a suitor like two of her friends in Harper’s Station have found. But when the man she believes responsible for her father’s death discovers her whereabouts, survival takes priority.

Amos Bledsoe prefers bicycles to horses and private conversations over the telegraph wire to social gatherings with young ladies who see him as nothing more than an oddity. His fellow telegrapher, the mysterious Miss G, has been the ideal companion. For months, their friendship—dare he believe, courtship?—over the wire has fed his hope that he has finally found the woman God intends for him. However, when he intercepts an ominous message and discovers her life is in peril, Amos must shed the cocoon of his quiet nature to become the hero Grace requires.

 

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PRAISE FOR HEART ON THE LINE

“Witemeyer blends history, suspense, and romance with touches of humor. Women will enjoy this story that proves heroes come in unexpected shapes and sizes and not always on a white charger.”Christian Market

“Online dating meets 1890s Texas in this charming, spiritually deep, laugh-out-loud funny romance!”—reader review on Goodreads

 

The Inspiration behind Heart on the Line

The inspiration for Heart on the Line began way back in 2011 when I was doing research on telegraph communication for an older book. I stumbled upon a novel written in 1879 by female telegraph operator Ella Cheever called Wired Love.

Apparently many operators were women in the late 19th century, and they were often identified as such by the delicacy of their “sounding” on the wires. The hero in Miss Thayer’s novel, Clem Stanwood, knows right away that the operator at the “B m” station is female.

Nattie Rogers is intrigued by the mysterious “C” at the “X n” station and seeks out conversations that soon turn flirtatious. These two telegraph operators fall in love over the wire without ever laying eyes on one another.

There is one scene about halfway through the book that served as my inspiration for Heart on the Line. A case of mistaken identity had scared Nattie off, but Mr. Stanwood arranges a visit to her boarding house, and while sitting amongst others in the parlor, he begins tapping out code with his pencil against a marble table top. Nattie recognizes her call name and, taking up a pair of scissors, drums out her own answer. They carry on an entire conversation this way with no one else in the parlor suspecting their action were anything more than idle tapping. Until, that is, Mr. Stanwood reveals himself to be the real “C”.

Nattie jumps to her feet and exclaims aloud, “What do you mean? It cannot be possible!”

Don’t you love it? Hysterical!

Of course everyone else in the room thinks she’s lost her mind except the hero who crosses the room to take her hand.  Awww…

Wired Love: A Romance of Dots and Dashes was a best selling book for over 10 years. And why not? The story is timeless. Remember You’ve Got Mail, which was adapted to e-mail from The Shop Around the Corner where Jimmy Stewart did his courting through letters? Very similar premise. And there are so many parallels to dating in today’s wired world. Can you trust that she looks like her description? Is he a gentleman or a stalker? How about the awkwardness of the first face-to-face meet? And with all the abbreviations used on the telegraph lines, it reminded me of the text speak our kids use today. It is really rather eerie how easily Ella Thayer’s story translates to our contemporary society 130 years after it was written.

In Heart on the Line, I had a great deal of fun creating situations where my two telegraph operators communicated through coded tapping without anyone else being able to understand the significance of their private conversations.

You never know when a random research trail will lead to the perfect plot for a new book.

 

Winner of the HOLT Medallion and the Carol Award and a finalist for the RITA and Christy Award, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance to give the world more happily-ever-afters. Karen makes her home in Texas, with her husband and three children.

 

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6/23 Excerpt CGB Blog Tours
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6/25 Review  Missus Gonzo
6/26 Guest Post StoreyBook Reviews
6/27 Review My Book Fix Blog
6/28 Excerpt The Page Unbound
6/29 Guest Post The Librarian Talks
6/30 Review Books in the Garden
7/01 Promo Books and Broomsticks
7/02 Review Forgotten Winds


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Posted in Christian, excerpt, Giveaway, romance on June 22, 2017


UNDER A SUMMER SKY
Follow Your Heart, Book 3
by
Melody Carlson

Genre: Contemporary Romance / Christian / Inspirational
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: June 6, 2017
Number of Pages: 320

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High school art teacher Nicole Anderson is looking forward to a relaxing summer in Savannah, house-sitting and managing an art gallery for a family friend. The house is luxurious in a way that only old money could make it, and the gallery promises interesting days in a gorgeous setting. Yet it isn’t long before her ideal summer turns into more than she bargained for: a snooty gallery employee who’s determined to force her out, a displaced adolescent roosting in the attic, and two of her childhood friends—who also happen to be brothers—vying for her attention.

With the backdrop of a gorgeous historical city, incredible architecture, and even an alleged ghost or two, combined with the opportunity for romance . . . anything can happen!
Bestselling and award-winning author Melody Carlson invites you to spend the summer surrounded by splendor . . . and tantalizing possibilities.

Baker Book House * Amazon * Christianbook.com

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Praise

“Heartwarming and uplifting.”—Library Journal on Once Upon a Summertime

“Sweet, romantic, and endlessly entertaining.”—Radiant Lit on Once Upon a Summertime

“This winsome romance [is] a perfect summer read.”—Publishers Weekly on All Summer Long

Excerpt: Chapter 1, Part 2
From Under a Summer Sky
By Melody Carlson

continued from the 6/17/17 Chapter Break Book Blog Tours stop

After the students had exited, Nicole smiled at her mother. “Thanks for asking that question, Mom. It was just what we needed.”

Caroline Anderson laughed as she walked to the front of the classroom. “Seemed like you were losing them, honey. I figured a little maternal prodding couldn’t hurt.”

“Well, I’ve never been particularly fond of the Renaissance period.” Nicole shut down the program on her computer and turned off the projector. “I appreciate what it did for the art world and all that, but it’s but it’s just not my cup of tea. You know?”

Her mom gave her a little hug. “I understand completely.”

Nicole closed her laptop. “But why are you here?”

“Because I knew you were stuck.”

“Huh?” Nicole frowned. “How could you possibly . . . ?”

“I meant stuck in general, Nikki.”

“What do you mean? Stuck how?” She studied her mom’s carefully made-up face. For sixty-five, this woman looked pretty good.

“Oh, you know . . . the things you were telling me last weekend at Michael’s birthday party—about how you felt sort of lost since you and Peter broke up, and you felt stuck in your job.”

“I really said that?” Nicole tried to remember how much she’d divulged at her nephew’s birthday party.

“You sounded like you were looking for a change.”

Nicole sighed. She’d been feeling a little envious of her older sister’s picture-perfect life last weekend. Oh, she knew Katy had her own challenges. But maintaining her career and raising three boys with a man she loved—sometimes it looked pretty good. “I was obviously kind of down that day, Mom. I didn’t mean to dump on you about—”

“No, no, that’s not it. It’s just that I have something exciting to tell you. And since you’re all done with classes today, why don’t you let me take you out for a cup of coffee.” She waved her hand like a fan. “Or maybe something icy. Good grief, it’s like a sauna in here. How can you stand it?”

“Even with all these windows, it gets pretty stuffy in here. Especially this time of year. And this building doesn’t have air-conditioning.” Nicole wondered why she felt so defensive about her “sauna.”

“It has been unseasonably warm for Seattle this week,” her mom offered.

“Anyway, I’d be happy to escape for a while.” Nicole went over to close the door that she’d propped open with a heavy clay pot. “Hopefully it’ll cool down some after the sun goes behind those trees. But I need to come back here when we’re done. I have to fire up the kiln.” She pointed to the pottery lined up on the counter. “I need to get those fired before the end of the week. I’ve been trying to run it at night because of the heat.”

“My poor girl,” Caroline said. “They’ve got you working in an honest-to-goodness sweatshop here.”

Nicole laughed as she went for her bag. “A lot of people would love to have my job,” she called from her office. “One more year until tenure.” Even as she said this, she wasn’t certain she cared. Was tenure about job security or about getting stuck in a job she didn’t really love? What was the point? She locked her office, and now more curious as to what her mother had to tell her, she hurried back out.

“So what’s up, Mom?” she asked.

“Not yet.” Caroline chuckled.

As they walked out to the visitors’ parking lot, Nicole continued to question her mother, determining that her news was nothing related to their family but still not getting to the bottom of it. “Can’t you just give me a clue?” Nicole said as she got into the passenger seat of her mom’s sedan.

“Okay.” Caroline started the engine. “It’s related to Vivian Graham.”

Vivian had been Caroline’s best friend throughout high school and college. She and her husband Robert lived in Savannah, Georgia, and were very wealthy. Caroline and Vivian had tried to remain close over the years, sometimes visiting each other’s homes on opposite sides of the country, occasionally sharing family vacations at places like the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Park. But Nicole hadn’t really heard much about Vivian and her family in recent years.

“I haven’t seen Vivian since I was fifteen—when we went to Alex’s college graduation.” Nicole tried not to recall how hurt she’d felt when Vivian’s attractive older son had totally ignored her. Naturally, Alex had seen Nicole as a juvenile. He had no idea that she’d been crushing on him since she was ten years old, during the summer their families had spent a week at Yellowstone and Alex had rescued her from being trampled by a buffalo. She felt childish even thinking of her crush now.

Read part three on the The Page Abound’s Blog Tour stop on 6/25/17.

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books with sales of more than 6.5 million, including many bestselling Christmas novellas, young adult titles, and the contemporary romances Once Upon a Summertime and All Summer Long. She received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including Finding Alice. She and her husband live in central Oregon.

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6/21 REVIEW My Book Fix Blog
6/22 Excerpt StoreyBook Reviews
6/23 Scrapbook Books in the Garden
6/24 REVIEW Margie’s Must Reads
6/25 Excerpt The Page Unbound
6/26 REVIEW Reading by Moonlight

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Posted in Christian, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on April 24, 2017

DEEP EXTRACTION

An FBI Task Force Novel, Book 2

By DiAnn Mills

  Genre: Contemporary / Mystery / Christian

Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers

Date of Publication: April 4, 2017

Number of Pages: 413

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A pacemaker should have saved oil and gas magnate Nathan Moore’s life. Instead, it provided his killer with a seemingly perfect means of execution.

A bombing at one of Nathan’s oil rigs days earlier indicates his death could be part of a bigger conspiracy, a web Special Agent Tori Templeton must untangle. But her first order of business is separating the personal from the professional—the victim’s wife, her best friend, is one of the FBI’s prime suspects.

Clearing Sally’s name may be the biggest challenge of her career, but Tori finds an unexpected ally in the newest member of the task force, recently reinstated Deputy US Marshal Cole Jeffers. As Tori and Cole dig deeper into Nathan’s personal and business affairs, they uncover more than they bargained for. And the closer they get to finding the real killer—and to each other—the more intent someone is on silencing them for good.

Purchase the book from one of many retailers

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Praise for Deep Extraction

“Combined with intense action and stunning twists, this search for truth keeps readers on the edges of their favorite reading chairs.”  Romantic Times

“Mills many fans will devour” Library Journal

Goodreads readers praise Deep Extraction

“This was truly an amazing, suspenseful read that can be held up as an example of what good Christian suspense should be.”

“DiAnn Mills’ writing is evocative of an excellent crime show. Sharp and to the point. Just how I imagine law enforcement work, think and talk.”

“Mills’ has captured the rush of adrenaline along with a good romance. Suspense and adventure are the real stars of this book.  Her motto is, “Expect an Adventure,” and she achieves it in this book.”

 

 4 Ways the FBI Assists Other Agencies

The FBI works with local, state, federal, and tribal law enforcement to investigate and share information to help solve and prevent crime. Through the following services, they are an integral federal agency dedicated to the wellbeing of the United States and global allies.

“The most effective weapon against crime is cooperation…the efforts of all law enforcement agencies with the support and understanding of the American people.”  J. Edgar Hoover

In my new series, FBI Task Force, I needed accurate information as to how the FBI assists other agencies. The following came from my friend Shauna Dunlap, Special Agent/Media Coordinator for Houston’s FBI.

  1. The FBI’s National and local Joint Terrorism Task Forces (There are JTTF’s in each of the 56 field offices) These small groups of agents do everything required to run down leads, train, gather intel, and everything in between.
  2. Under the Attorney General Guidelines, the FBI is able to assist local, state and other federal partners investigating federal crimes or threats to national security or for example. we assist other agencies investigating violent acts or mass killings as noted in federal law: 28, USC 530c 9b) (1) (M) (i)
  3. Intelligence Information Sharing
  4. Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS)

Isn’t it good to know that trained people are working together to keep us safe?

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association; International Thriller Writers, and the Faith, Hope, and Love chapter of Romance Writers of America. She is co-director of The Author Roadmap with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.

DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

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20-Apr Missus Gonzo Review
21-Apr Books in the Garden Guest Post: 4 Agencies You Didn’t Know Worked With the FBI
22-Apr Chapter Break Book Blog Review
23-Apr Texas Book Lover Excerpt: Chapter 1, Part 1
24-Apr StoreyBook Reviews Guest Post: 4 Ways the FBI Assists Other Agencies
25-Apr Forgotten Winds Review
26-Apr Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books Guest Post: 6 Ways the FBI Investigates a Potential Threat
27-Apr Margie’s Must Reads Guest Post: 9 Crimes the FBI Investigates
28-Apr Reading By Moonlight Review
29-Apr My Book Fix Blog Guest Post: 10 Ways to Show Character Growth and Change
30-Apr A Novel Reality Promo
1-May Books and Broomsticks Review
2-May The Page Unbound Guest Post: 10 Ways to Show You’re a Strong Woman
3-May Momma On The Rocks Excerpt: Chapter 1, Part 2
4-May Syd Savvy Review

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Posted in Christian, Giveaway, Guest Post, romance on April 11, 2017

SANDPIPER COVE

A Hope Harbor Novel, Book 3
by

IRENE HANNON

  Genre: Contemporary / Christian / Romance

Publisher: Revell

Date of Publication: April 4, 2017

Number of Pages: 352

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Irene Hannon welcomes readers back to the enchanting seaside town of Hope Harbor, Oregon, in her novel Sandpiper Cove, releasing April 2017. Praised by Library Journal as a “master at character development,” Irene Hannon steps away from suspense writing once again to deliver another powerful, multifaceted romance that is sure to have readers coming back for more.

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?

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.

Amazon * Barnes & Noble * ChristianBook.com

PRAISE FOR THE HOPE HARBOR NOVELS

“Fan favorite Irene Hannon brings a whole new cast of characters to life in a charming Oregon seaside village. Emotional and heartwarming, this story invites reader to come home to Hope Harbor.” Christian Retailing on Hope Harbor

“A place of emotional restoration that readers will yearn to visit.” Publishers Weekly on Hope Harbor

 “Summer romance doesn’t get much better than this.” —Examiner.com on Sea Rose Lane

Lone Star Life Guest Post

Irene Hannon, Sandpiper Cove

When I decided to write a book set on the spectacular Oregon coast, my husband joined me on a research trip that took me from the tip-top edge of the state all the way down to the California border. Since he knows me well, he also brought along sturdy hiking shoes.

And therein lies a story.

For me, the best way to get to know a place is on foot. So every trip I take—whether it’s for fun or work—involves some long, often arduous, day hikes.

My husband is a trouper, and while long hikes weren’t necessarily his forte when we got married, in general he gets into the trek-taking spirit on our trips.

But every once in a while, during one of our more…ahem…adventurous hikes, he’ll give me the How did you manage to talk me into this? look.

The most memorable such look happened during a hike in the French Pyrenees.

The problem with that hike was lack of appropriate footwear. He was in the country on business and didn’t have room in his luggage for his hiking shoes. So no major hikes were planned for that trip. But when we came across a distant but visible waterfall, I convinced him it would be an easy stroll. The path was even paved at the beginning, and not very steep.

Three hours later, the smooth path long left behind, we found ourselves on a glacial slope—but still not at the waterfall, which continued to tantalize from a distance.

As we contemplated our elusive target, my husband cocked his head and said, “What’s that smell?”

I sniffed the spicy aroma. Familiar…but I couldn’t place it.

He bent down and picked the leaf off a plant.

“It’s thyme.” He passed it to me.

Yeah, it was.

Wild mountain thyme, to be precise—officially classified as a high-altitude plant.

“I guess we climbed pretty high.” I eyed the glacier at the base of the waterfall.

He sat on a convenient rock.

Not a positive sign.

“Let’s not give up now. We’re almost there.” I beamed him an encouraging smile.

“I can’t go any further.” He fiddled with his shoe.

“Yes, you can.”

“No. I can’t.” He removed the shoe and held it up.

The sole was hanging off.

His not-meant-for-hiking shoe had succumbed to the sharp glacial rock.

“Uh oh.”

“Yeah.” He gave the shoe a disgusted look.

“Can you make it back down?”

“Do I have a choice?”

Somehow he managed—but the return trip wasn’t a barrel of laughs.

So on the research trip to Oregon, he came prepared for some serious trekking.

As it turns out, we did do quite a bit of tramping about. We slipped and slid down steep paths to countless vast and wild beaches. We ogled colorful starfish, sea urchins and anemones while scrambling over slippery, jagged rocks at Cape Perpetua. We picked our way along narrow paths and up steep cliffs to visit every lighthouse we passed. On the John Dellenback Dunes trail, we trudged through sand deep enough to rival the Sahara. And of course we took endless strolls on vast, remote—and often very windy—beaches.

By the end of the trip, I’d gathered plenty of material to help me create my charming, fictional seaside town of Hope Harbor—where hearts heal…and love blooms.

In fact, the inspiration for the setting of the hero’s home in Sandpiper Cove is a pristine, sheltered beach in Shore Acres State Park that we reached via a hike.

Now that the Hope Harbor series has been extended—Pelican Point will be out in spring 2018, with at least one more book to follow—I’m thinking it might be time to go back to Oregon and do a little more research…and hiking.

Hmm.

Maybe I better start broaching that idea to my husband now…and dig out his hiking shoes!

Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than fifty novels, including One Perfect Spring, Hope Harbor, and Sea Rose Lane, as well as the Private Justice and Men of Valor suspense series. Her books have been honored with three coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, two Carol Awards, two Reviewers’ Choice Awards from RT Book Reviews magazine, a Retailers’ Choice Award, three HOLT Medallions, two Booksellers’ Best Awards, and a National Readers’ Choice Award. She is also a two-time Christy Award finalist. In 2014 she was inducted into the Romance Writers of America’s elite Hall of Fame, and in 2016 she received a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews for her entire body of work.

 

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Print copies of full Hope Harbor series, Mr. Munch Oregon Treat Basket, & Ann Clark Oregan 3.25” Tin Plated Steel Cookie Cutter.

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4/9 Author Interview Books and Broomsticks
4/10 Review Missus Gonzo
4/11 Guest Post StoreyBook Reviews
4/12 Review The Page Unbound
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Posted in 5 paws, Christian, Giveaway, Guest Post, Historical, romance on March 31, 2017

A STOLEN HEART

Cimarron Creek Trilogy #1

by

AMANDA CABOT

  Genre: Historical Romance / Christian

Publisher: Revell / Baker Publishing Group

Date of Publication: March, 2017

Number of Pages: 352

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“Endearing characters, a tender love story, and intriguing mystery all work together to make Amanda Cabot’s A Stolen Heart a compelling and enjoyable read.”—Margaret Brownley, author of Left at the Altar

Bestselling author Amanda Cabot takes readers back in time to the 1880s Texas Hill Country in her new historical romance novel, A Stolen Heart. This is the first book in a brand-new series packed with tension, mystery, and a tender love story that readers won’t soon forget.

Cimarron Creek seemed like an idyllic Texas town. But as soon as former schoolteacher Lydia Crawford stepped onto its dusty streets, she noticed a deep-seated resentment of Northerners—like her.

That won’t get Lydia down, though. She looks forward to the day when she reunites with her fiancé—until she discovers her fiancé has disappeared without a trace and has left behind a pregnant wife. The handsome Cimarron Creek sheriff urges Lydia to trust him, but she is having a hard time trusting anyone in a town where secrets and suspense prevail.

Cabot weaves an elegant tale of pure love amidst heartache. With an absorbing plot and engaging characters, A Stolen Heart is a springtime showstopper fit for every historical romance reader.

Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Baker Retail * ChristianBook.com

A Would-Be Candy Maker

Do you have a sweet tooth?  I certainly do.  My siblings still laugh at the fact that I once declared that a meal wasn’t a meal unless it included dessert.  Fortunately for me, I grew up in a home where dessert ended almost every meal.  Breakfast doesn’t count, does it?  It was also a family where everything – and I mean everything – was homemade.  We had wonderful cakes, pies, cookies, and puddings for dessert.  The one thing we didn’t have was candy.  Candy came from a store and was for special occasions, namely Christmas and Easter.

As you can imagine, the fact that candy was rare made me long for it all the more.  And since my mother had taught me to make cookies, cakes, and pies, I decided that the next culinary challenge would be candy.  How difficult could it be?  Mother smiled when I announced that I wanted to make fudge.  “It’s not as easy as you think,” she told me, undoubtedly hoping to discourage me.  She didn’t, and I persisted in begging to make candy.  “Later,” she said.

Later came when my Girl Scout troop leader invited us to her home to make fudge.  I was ecstatic.  At last I’d uncover the mystery of creating delicious confections.  Somehow, I was appointed Stirrer-in-Chief.  After an hour – or was it a week? – of stirring the chocolate, sugar, and milk until it reached the soft boil stage, I decided that no matter how delicious the final product was, it wasn’t worth the effort.  Mother’s smile broadened when I recounted my experience.  Although she said nothing, I suspect she was saying, “Just what I expected.”

A year or so later, when I’d forgotten how tedious it was to stir candy until it reached exactly the right temperature, I decided to make penuche.  Once again, there was a lot of stirring involved.  That was bad enough, but I might have persisted if the results had been exceptional.  They were not.  This time I’d learned my lesson and was done with candy making.

My youngest sister, however, took up the candy baton er … spoon.  One evening she persuaded my boyfriend to help her make what had been advertised as “foolproof two-flavor fudge.”  The picture she’d torn out of a magazine showed a piece of chocolate fudge topped with a butterscotch layer.  Easy, or so the recipe claimed.

The two of them remained in the kitchen for far longer than it should have taken to make such an easy dish.  To this day, neither of them will admit to knowing what happened, but while the chocolate layer was a success, the butterscotch one remained the consistency of soup – not exactly what they had had in mind and definitely not like the picture.  As a last resort, they placed it in the freezer.  That did accomplish the goal of changing the consistency, and for a few minutes, the candy bore a faint resemblance to the picture.  Then, of course, it melted.

“I’ll never again make candy,” my sister wailed.  And she hasn’t.  I, on the other hand, couldn’t resist the recipe that came with my first microwave oven.  It couldn’t have been easier.  Simply place a few ingredients in a bowl, microwave for a couple minutes, stir, then refrigerate.  And, unlike the two-flavor fudge that had been my sister’s nemesis, this recipe truly was foolproof.  It might not be “real” fudge, but it was quick and easy.  I could almost convince myself that I was a candy maker.  Almost.

The reality is that I’ll never be a candy maker, but I am an author, and that means I can create characters who have powers I do not.  That’s why I gave Lydia, the heroine of A Stolen Heart, a candy store.  She may not leap tall buildings in a single bound, but she can – and does – create perfect candy.  Lucky Lydia!

Amanda Cabot

I thought this was going to just be a clean historical romance, which it was, but there was also a mystery in the little Texas town of Cimarron Creek.

When I read books like this one and the setting is a sleepy little town, I imagine myself living there and enjoying life at a slower pace then what I live in now. No the town isn’t perfect, there are petty crimes and more, but the thought of everyone knowing each other and the sense of community that is often missing in today’s world calls to me.

Lydia is spunky and while she may have come to town for one reason, she does manage to find her place despite being an outsider. I enjoyed watching her find her place by opening a confectionery store, and how everyone in town seemed to gravitate towards the candies. I do wish the author had provided recipes at the end!

Travis has his own issues with his father and his father’s attitude towards Northerners, like Lydia. But luckily he doesn’t let that hold him back from realizing that maybe finding a special woman isn’t such a bad thing.

The story has some humorous moments and some nail biting moments especially near the end as the story reveals who the culprit is behind everything. There is maybe a clue or two left along the way, but I didn’t put it all together and I was almost right in suspecting the right person. Close but no cigar.

I look forward to reading the next book which is Catherine’s story.

We give this 5 paws up!

Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of At Bluebonnet Lake, In Firefly Valley, and On Lone Star Trail, as well as the Texas Dreams series, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards and the Booksellers’ Best. She lives in Wyoming.

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1ST RUNNER-UP: Book + $20 Barnes & Noble Gift Card

2ND RUNNER-UP: Book + $10 Starbucks Gift Card
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March 21 – April 4, 2017

 

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check out the other great blogs on this tour

3/21 Excerpt Hall Ways Blog
3/22 Review Chapter Break Book Blog
3/23 Author Interview Books and Broomsticks
3/24 Review Reading By Moonlight
3/25 Scrapbook Page Syd Savvy
3/26 promo Kara The Redhead
3/27 Review Margie’s Must Reads
3/28 Excerpt Forgotten Winds
3/29 Author Interview The Page Unbound
3/30 Review My Book Fix Blog
3/31 Guest Post StoreyBook Reviews
4/1 Review CGB Blog Tours
4/2 promo A Novel Reality
4/3 Character Interview It’s a Jenn World
4/4 Review Missus Gonzo

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Posted in Christian, excerpt, Giveaway on March 21, 2017

Author Maria Santomasso-Hyde is visiting today as part of her HE GAVE ME BARN CATS Blog Tour with MC Book Tours. Her book is scheduled to be released March 14 by Dancing Lemur Press.

If you’re looking for a story that will touch your heart, you’ve found it in this tender story of love, loss, and inspiration. You could win your own copy, just check out the giveaway details.

Title: He Gave Me Barn  Cats
Author: Maria Santomass0-Hyde
Published by Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.
Available March 14, 2017
Genres: Christian Fiction / Christian Life-Death, Grief, Bereavement

Synopsis

Inspired by true events…

        Maria has cared for her very ill mother for many years. Her burdens are heavy, causing a sadness bordering on darkness.  When she discovers her historic barn is now home to a mother cat and kittens, she feels lighter than she has in years. As the kittens grow, they teach her as only animals can do.

Then tragedy strikes. As Maria loses her family, the darkness envelopes her like the heavy fog that blankets her Blue Ridge Mountain home each morning. She creates a scorecard:  God: 9, Maria: 0.  Her questions turn into anger at God.  She searches to find answers as to why her loving God would take away so much in such a short time.

How will she learn to trust again? Can the kittens in her barn help her heal?

HE GAVE ME BARN CATS is available in print format at following sites: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books A Million, Everything Cats, Foyles, and Chapters-Indigo.

HE GAVE ME BARN CATS is available in eBook format at the following sites: Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iTunes, and Amazon.

 

Excerpt

Chapter 4

Charlotte, 5-25-09

I have my back to them, but I know that smell―dog breath, hot and moist and odorous. It smells like death. I used to live with a family with a big dog, but when I got pregnant again, they took me to this barn―and they left me. I couldn’t believe they left me here all alone, and I couldn’t believe they chose the dumb dog over me. But who knows if the dog is still with them or not. They were having trouble feeding their children because the man had lost his job. They couldn’t have me bringing them more mouths to feed.

From my experience with dogs, I know to be still. If you run, a dog thinks it’s a game of chase. Of course, I can’t run now, because I’ve got these three kittens nursing on me. And it’s making me so weak. I really do think I might die.

It’s really perverse. All of this nutritious milk is coming out of me, and yet, I’m starving. The three kittens have full bellies and are healthy and quite beautiful, in my totally unbiased opinion. We’re lying in the one sunny spot in the old barn, and their fur glistens in the warm light. Not me. My coat is dull, lifeless, itchy, and bald in one spot. I really need to get away from these kittens and hunt for a small rodent to eat. The kittens can fend for themselves for a bit. They need to learn how to care for themselves anyway.

About the Author

Formerly a newspaper reporter, Maria Santomasso-Hyde now owns Alta Vista Fine Art Gallery.

She lives in Valle Crucis, North Carolina, with her husband, Lee, and The Queen of the Universe (Roma, their Black Cat) … and other Black Cats who decide to move in.

Giveaway

Tour-wide giveaway for two (2) print copies (U.S only) and two (2) eBooks (international).

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Come join the blog tour and learn more about Maria and HE GAVE ME BARN CATS by visiting the following blogs

March 7 – Joylene Nowell Butler, Suspense Author – Feature

March 8 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – Guest Post

March 9 – Mello & June, It’s a Book Thang! – Feature

March 10 – Defending The Pen – Excerpt

March 13 – Reviews by Crystal – Q&A
Alex J. Cavanaugh – Guest Post

March 14 – Thoughts in Progress – Review

March 15 –

March 16 – A Bluestocking’s Place – Excerpt
deal sharing aunt – Review

March 17 – Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit – Q&A

March 20 – Reviews From the Heart – Review
The Story of a Writer – Feature
CBY Book Club – Excerpt

March 21 – bookworm1102 – Excerpt
StoreyBook Reviews – Excerpt
Celticlady’s Reviews – Feature

 

Posted in Christian, Giveaway, Historical, Interview, romance on December 7, 2016

FOR THE RECORD

by Regina Jennings

  Genre: Historical Romance / Christian

Publisher: Bethany House

Date of Publication: December 6, 2015

Number of Pages: 336

Scroll down for Giveaway!

synopsis

 

for-the-record-coverRather Than Wait for a Hero,  She Decided to Create One

Betsy Huckabee has big-city dreams, but nobody outside of tiny Pine Gap, Missouri, seems interested in the articles she writes for her uncle’s newspaper. Her hopes for independence may be crushed, until the best idea she’s ever had comes riding into town.

Deputy Joel Puckett didn’t want to leave Texas, but unfair circumstances have made moving to Pine Gap his only shot at keeping a badge. Worse, this small town has big problems, and masked marauders have become too comfortable taking justice into their own hands. He needs to make clear that he’s the law in this town–and that job is made more difficult with a nosy reporter who seems to follow him everywhere he goes.

The hero Betsy creates to be the star in a serial for the ladies’ pages is based on the dashing deputy, but he’s definitely fictional. And since the pieces run only in newspapers far away, no one will ever know. But the more time she spends with Deputy Puckett, the more she appreciates the real hero–and the more she realizes what her ambition could cost him.

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***

PRAISE FOR FOR THE RECORD

“Jennings creates a perfect blend of love, mystery, and wit in this 19th-century romance.” —Publishers Weekly starred review

“Jennings’ latest is a delightfully entertaining historical romance featuring charismatic humor, unpredictable thrills, and vigilante justice. The plot is tense and exciting, and the novel sparkles with the wit and charm of its spirited heroine. It is more romantic and less stuffy than your average inspirational, and Jennings uses classic western touches like six-shooters, spurs, and white Stetsons to land readers squarely in the Ozark Mountains of 1885.” —Booklist

“This is such a delightful read with an adorable romance and a fun and entertaining story line. . . The interactions and dialogue between the main characters are sheer perfection. The mystery and drama with the hero’s backstory and the masked marauders keep the momentum of the story going at a nice pace and allows for no dull moments. There is so much to love here in this little gem, it is easily one of Jennings’ best.” —RT Book Reviews

AuthorInterview

What projects are you working on at the present?

My next series is set in Indian Territory just a few miles from my home in Oklahoma. The series is going to kick-off with a story about a dance hall singer who gets mistaken as a governess by the commander of Fort Reno. There’s going to be a lot of dashing cavalrymen, cowboys, Indians, and outlaws. Look for the first book, “Holding the Fort” in December of 2017.

Do you have any strange writing habits you’d like to share with your readers?

I’m not much on tradition or ritual. I pretty much have to write when I can, which usually means toting the laptop to basketball or football practice. That’s me, the anti-social one sitting in the car while the rest of the moms are visiting in the stands.

What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book, but nobody has?

You write about Betsy making the perfect hero…and then she realizes that the perfect man isn’t perfect. What are the key ingredients for a perfect hero?

For me, the first thing a hero must have is character. If he’s dishonest, unfaithful or unkind, he can’t be a good match for the heroine, no matter how handsome, talented or rich. And I think the perfect hero is also able to laugh at himself. Laughing at yourself shows confidence, and nothing is more attractive than confidence.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

I have this conversation with my kids about once a week. While it would be noble to request the gift of healing, I have to say having instant teleportation would be a lot more fun. (And since this is make-believe, let’s have fun!) Can you imagine how cool that would be? I want to see the Eiffel Tower this afternoon…boom! I’m there. I want to take tea at Piccadilly Circus? Cheers! I’d probably even use it daily to run errands with the kids. How handy would that be?

My second choice would be time travel, but you still need teleportation to make it feasible. It’d be hard to time travel if you always end up in the exact place you left.

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?

My problem is that there are very few places I’ve traveled to that I don’t want to visit again. In fact, visiting somewhere usually makes me want to go back even more. If I’m visiting again, I’d say England and Scotland. If I’m limited to a country I haven’t been to, let’s try Australia. It looks so beautiful in the pictures and I hear that the people are very friendly.

If you could speak with any accent from anywhere in the world, what would you choose? What? You mean besides my Oklahoma accent? What’s wrong with that? OK, British I suppose. Probably north England, or Scottish. Nothing too posh.

What’s something fun or funny that most people don’t know about you?

Well, you see I’m Baptist and my parents were pretty strict, so I never got to take any dance classes or even gymnastics when I was growing up. Judging from an 8mm film of me dancing at four years old, I think that if I would’ve just had a few lessons I might have won the first Nobel Prize for a dancer. It would’ve changed the world. At least that’s what I thought until I actually tried it.

After I was married with kids my cousin and I enrolled in a dance class at the local community college, but not just any dance class… a belly dancing class. We had a great time, but I realized that my parents did not deprive the world of the next prima ballerina. They just saved them from some really awkward recitals.

What’s your funniest flaw?

I’m a morning person. I don’t know if that’s funny to some people, especially those who go to church camp or mission trips with me, but I find it amusing how the world caters to those who stay up late and punishes those of us who are evening-challenged.

Instead of high school football games that last until 10:00 or 11:00 pm, why not have them at 4:00 a.m. instead? Then we could celebrate the win and go off to work for the day. Same with firework celebrations. Why wait around on those long summer nights for it to get dark? I’m so sleepy! Let’s shoot off the fireworks at 5:00 a.m. before the sun is up. That sounds like a great way to start the day!

 

about the author

regina-jenningsRegina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a history minor. She is the author of Sixty Acres and a Bride, Caught in the Middle, and At Love’s Bidding and contributed a novella to A Match Made in Texas. Regina has worked at the Mustang News and First Baptist Church of Mustang, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows. She now lives outside Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with her husband and four children.

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THREE WINNERS EACH WIN A 3 BOOK SET OF THE OZARK MOUNTAIN ROMANCE SERIES WITH AUTHOR SIGNED BOOKPLATES:
(US & INTERNATIONAL; INTERNATIONAL WINNER WINS $30 AMAZON CARD IN LIEU OF BOOKS)
December 1 – December 12, 2016

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CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

12/1 Excerpt Country Girl Bookaholic
12/2 Review Momma On The Rocks
12/3 Author Interview Missus Gonzo
12/4 Promo Kara The Redhead
12/5 Review The Page Unbound
12/6 Guest Post Margie’s Must Reads
12/7 Author Interview StoreyBook Reviews
12/8 Review Byers Editing Reviews & Blog
12/9 Excerpt 2 Reading By Moonlight
12/10 Review Chapter Break Book Blog

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Posted in Book Blast, Christian, excerpt, romance on December 5, 2016

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sight-unseen

Title: Sight Unseen
Author: Erin Leigh Crisp
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 198
Genre: Christian Romance

Synopsis

Emilia Phillips is looking for a career and a way out of her day job. She is not looking for a man to rescue her heart.

Asher Mason wants his life back. He lost his sight and the hero-life he loved in a millisecond. He no longer trusts his instincts, especially about women. But the sweet-smelling waitress in his favorite café tempts him to trust. As Emilia helps Asher relearn everyday activities, the two find themselves falling faster than either expected.

Can a woman love a blind soldier? Will she want a man who doesn’t recognize himself anymore? As Asher’s shortcomings become more apparent to him, the wedge forced between he and Emilia widens. Can Asher trust the same God that took his sight to direct his future?

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Excerpt

“How long has it been?” Emilia could have bitten off her own tongue.

His eyes glanced over again, but they didn’t see her. He gave one huge breath and shrugged, like it wasn’t important. “Three months.”

Only three months? And he was walking around town and ordering coffee? No seeing-eye dog, no dark glasses? She wanted to compliment him, but she figured he wasn’t the type of man to take it for what it was. Instead, she eased her hand onto his shoulder for a split second and went for humor instead.

“I should have noticed when you didn’t wink back at me earlier.”

His head shot up, and his cheeks tinged the darkest pink.

Emilia covered her giggle and shook her head. “I swear I’m kidding. I wasn’t flirting with you, but I really should have noticed earlier. My brother was born blind. He’s seventeen.”

The man looked curious, but he was still blushing and she decided not to press him. “Anyway, if you need anything, my name is Emilia. I’ll be here all week.”

His lips turned up in the smallest smile. She reminded herself that she wasn’t looking for a man. She took three steps away before he called her name.

Her feet stopped. “Yeah?”

He swallowed hard, his fingers linking on the tabletop. His eyes searched for her face. “I’m Asher Mason. Thank you, again.”

“It was my pleasure.” She turned and walked away, but the damage was already done. Her heart thumped crazily. Her cheeks heated. Her teeth bit down to stop the smile that threatened. And I’m in a load of trouble, she thought.

About the Author

Erin was born and raised on the Florida/Alabama state line in a small farming community which has served as inspiration for her novels. She believes the heart of a happy ending is God and His plan for the lives of His people.

In 2014, Erin published her first novels for sale.  She currently has eight full-length novels and one novella for sale on Amazon. Erin makes her home in Northeast Georgia with her husband, four children and two fish. Erin has a bachelor degree in Christian Counseling and enjoys photography in her spare time.

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Posted in 4 paws, Christian, christmas, Giveaway, Review, romance on November 17, 2016

bnr-sleigh-bells-rvsd

SLEIGH BELLS RING 

Four Contemporary Romance Novellas

by

Sandra D. Bricker, Lynette Sowell,

Barbara J. Scott, & Lenora Worth

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Gilead Publishing

Date of Publication: October 14, 2016

Number of Pages: 320

scroll down for giveaway!

synopsis

cover-sleigh-bells

Santa Claus is coming to town, and so are the Tucker sisters.

Never mind a pony. The Tucker girls have inherited their father’s horse farm for Christmas. Make that . . . a run-down horse farm. It needs some serious TLC in order to make it sell-ready. Joanna knows that by recruiting her sisters and one handsome ranch hand they can fix up the place and even celebrate one last Christmas while they’re at it. However, to Isabella, returning to their home in Kentucky bluegrass country for Christmas seems like an impossible hurdle. Can her Chicago boyfriend make life merry and bright again?

One thing’s for sure—nothing is peace on earth for Sophia as a new beau brings up old wounds. And when the fate of the horse farm is put in jeopardy because Amy accidentally fraternizes with the enemy, tensions rise. But it’s not like the land developer stole Christmas . . . just her heart.

Can the Tucker sisters have themselves a merry little Christmas?

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Review
4 novellas about the Tucker sisters that come home to KY for Christmas after receiving letters from their father that passed away shortly before that. Each sister has their own issues with their father, but with faith and each other they are able to overcome and forgive him. And of course each sister finds love, so that doesn’t hurt either!

I don’t know if anyone stands out more than the other but I do like how the authors worked together so even though these are 4 stories they run together seamlessly. I wondered how that would work, if they all collaborated on the town and certain points or if one author set up the background and they all used it to create their stories.

When it comes to the romance side, two sisters reunite with past loves/crushes, one sister deepens her relationship with her boyfriend and the last sister finds love again after being widowed. I do think in Amy’s case (the widow) that the love happened awfully fast, but it is a novella and sometimes love does strike that quickly.

This book will lift your spirits and leave you with a good feeling.

We give it 4 paws up!

pawprintpawprintpawprintpawprint

AboutTheAuthors

Writing is usually a solitary act, but reader-favorite authors (and friends) Sandra D Bricker, Barbara J. Scott, Lynette Sowell, and Lenora Worth got a happy Christmas miracle when invited to work together on Sleigh Bells Ring.

Watch for Author Spotlights to learn more about each of the Sleigh Bells Rings authors!

Sandra Bricker * Lynette Sowell * Barbara Scott * Lenora Worth

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5 COPIES OF SLEIGH BELLS RING SIGNED BY ONE OF THE AUTHORS!

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November 14 – November 23, 2016

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11/14 Review Chapter Break Book Blog
11/15 Author Spotlight Books and Broomsticks
11/16 Promo Reading By Moonlight
11/17 Review StoreyBook Reviews
11/18 Author Spotlight Margie’s Must Reads
11/19 Author Spotlight Country Girl Bookaholic
11/20 Review Momma On The Rocks
11/21 Promo Byers Editing Reviews & Blog
11/22 Author Spotlight The Page Unbound
11/23 Review Kara The Redhead

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Posted in 4 paws, Christian, Giveaway, Review, romance on November 1, 2016

WHERE TWO HEARTS MEET

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND DREAMS SERIES, BOOK 2

by

Liz Johnson

 Genre: Contemporary Christian Romance

Publisher: Revell

Date of Publication: October 18, 2016

Number of Pages: 384

Scroll down for Giveaway!

synopsis

In her kitchen at the Red Door Inn, executive chef Caden Holt is calm, collected, and competent. But when her boss asks her to show off their beautiful island to impress a visiting travel writer and save the inn, Caden is forced to face a world much bigger than her kitchen—and a man who makes her wish she was beautiful.

Journalist Adam Jacobs is on a forced sabbatical on Prince Edward Island. He’s also on assignment to uncover a story. Instead he’s falling in love with the island’s red shores and Caden’s sweets.

When Caden discovers Adam isn’t who she thought he was, she realizes that the article he’s writing could do more than ruin the inn’s chances for survival—it might also break her heart.

Readers will discover hope for the hurting, joy for the broken, and romance for the lonely at the enchanting Red Door Inn.

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Amazon * Baker Retail * Barnes & NobleChristianbook.com

Review

“Grace isn’t about being good enough or strong enough. It’s just about acknowledging your need for it and accepting it.”

This line in the book stood out to me because it is very true. Where Two Hearts Meet is a solid book that encompasses all facets of life – friendship, faith, love, deception, jealousy and desire.

Caden is something of an introvert which makes it harder for her to stand up for herself. Adam is a well traveled journalist that has a very heavy heart. Between the two, they learn a lot about themselves and how they can better themselves, all while finding love. The story is enjoyable and I found myself rooting for Caden and Adam hoping they wouldn’t miss out on a fresh chance on life. It wasn’t smooth sailing for them, but it gave them a chance to really get to know one another and each other’s faults.

This line gave me a chuckle and I liked the alliteration – “But he (Adam) hadn’t picked up the old vice. He’d picked up a new one. Coffee and cinnamon rolls. And Caden.”

I also liked the descriptions of Prince Edward Island. I have never been to the island but it sounds gorgeous and I think I need to plan a trip there in the near future.

We give this 4 paws up.

pawprintpawprintpawprintpawprint

about the author

liz-johnsonLiz Johnson fell in love with Prince Edward Island the first time she set foot on it. When she’s not plotting her next trip to the island, she works as a full-time marketing managerfor a Nashville-based publisher. She has been a freelance writer and editor for several publications, including CBA Retailers+Resources, Christian Fiction Online magazine, and Storytellers’ Journal. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, she is the author of several books, including The Red Door Inn, a New York Times bestselling novella, The Kidnapping of Kenzie Thorn (an ACFW Carol Award finalist) and A Star in the Night, which was part of the New York Times and ECPA bestselling A Log Cabin Christmas Collection. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

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 Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, publishes books that help bring the Christian faith to everyday life. Whether through fiction, Christian living, self-help, marriage, family, or youth books, each Revell publication reflects relevance, integrity, and excellence.

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1 Copy of Where Two Hearts Meet

1 Copy of Anne of Green Gables

1 Prince Edward Island Towel

1 Gift Basket of Snacks

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1 Copy of Where Two Hearts Meet

$10 Starbucks Gift Card

RUNNER-UP PRIZE #2

1 Copy of Where Two Hearts Meet

$10 Barnes and Noble Gift Card

(US ONLY)

November 1 – November 10, 2016

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check out the other great blogs on this tour

11/1 Review StoreyBook Reviews
11/2 Author Interview Hall Ways Blog
11/3 Excerpt Country Girl Bookaholic
11/4 Review Kara The Redhead
11/5 Promo Books and Broomsticks
11/6 Author Interview Reading By Moonlight
11/7 Review Byers Editing Reviews & Blog
11/8 Guest Post A Novel Reality
11/9 Author Interview Margie’s Must Reads
11/10 Review The Page Unbound

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