Tag Archives: Contemporary Christian Romance

Blackberry Beach by Irene Hannon

Irene Hannon’s newest Hope Harbor story (releasing April 6th) is Blackberry Beach. Even though I didn’t know this was part of a series, it still works well as a standalone.

Hope Harbor “harbors” the picturesque and enchanting Blackberry Beach, home to several idiosyncratic and unconventional people and birds. Needless to say, they were some of my favorite characters!

I would love to stop in at The Perfect Blend coffee shop and talk with the owner, Zach Garrett, and sample his fantastic blends and desserts. And, oh my, Charlie, the owner of the fish taco stand!  Hannon has created a must-visit, perfect friend. Can you guess that I would love to live there?

Kat, the mystery woman, piques everyone’s interest, especially Zach’s, and uses her wonderful culinary skill to create blackberry and blackberry lavender truffles. So, is Kat a chocolatier? Why is she in Hope Harbor, and what is she hiding?

Hannon is amazingly skilled at creating a place you want to visit and characters you would love to have as friends. Not to mention, she leaves you starving for treats from the Perfect Blend, Kat’s chocolates and fish tacos, even though I have never really cared for fish tacos.

As you can see, Blackberry Beach features mystery and intrigue, along with romance and wonderful doses of Biblical insight.

I received a copy of this book courtesy of Revell through NetGalley and Interviews & Reviews.

Photo of pie by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Publisher’s Summary

Katherine Parker is on the cusp of having everything she ever wanted–fame, money, and acclaim. So why isn’t she happy? In search of answers, she comes incognito to Hope Harbor on the Oregon coast for some R&R. Maybe in her secluded rental house overlooking the serene Pacific she’ll be able to calm the storm inside.

Coffee shop owner Zach Garrett has found his niche after a traumatic loss–and he has no plans to change the life he’s created. Nor does he want to get involved with his reticent new neighbor, whose past is shrouded in mystery. He’s had enough drama to last a lifetime. But when Katherine and Zach are recruited to help rehab a home for foster children, sparks fly. And as their lives begin to intersect, might they find more common ground than they expected . . . and discover that, with love, all things are possible?

Bestselling and award-winning author Irene Hannon invites you to come home to Hope Harbor–where hearts heal . . . and love blooms.

The Key to Love by Betsy St. Amant

The only thing Bri Duval loves more than baking petit fours is romance. So much so, she’s created her own version of the famous Parisian lovelock wall at her bakery in Story, Kansas. She never expects it to go viral–or for Trek Magazine to send travel writer Gerard Fortier to feature the bakery. He’s definitely handsome, but Bri has been holding out for a love story like the one her parents had, and that certainly will not include the love-scorned-and-therefore-love-scorning Gerard.

Just when it seems Bri’s bakery is poised for unprecedented success, a series of events threaten not just her business but the pedestal she’s kept her parents on all these years. Maybe Gerard is right about romance. Or maybe Bri’s recipe just needs to be tweaked.

Novelist Betsy St. Amant invites you to experience this sweet story of how love doesn’t always look the way we expect–and maybe that’s a good thing.

The Key to Love, by Betsy St. Amant, is a contemporary romance novel about a bakery, The Pastry Puff, and its owners and an employee in Story, Kansas. This is the first book I have read by Betsy St. Amant.

The story is populated by several characters, from the previous owner’s daughter, Abrielle “Bri” Duvall to the nefarious Charles Richmond, Bri’s ex-boyfriend, who is a lawyer intent on getting The Pastry Puff by any means available (and maybe some that aren’t!). The true stars of the book appear to be the bakery, the Parisian styled love lock fence and the “love angels,” Mabel and Agnes, who are the bakery’s new owners.

I had a hard time becoming invested in the main characters, Bri Duval and Gerard Fortier. Their ongoing disagreements felt somewhat immature and off-putting.

The book also contains some mild vulgar words (though not profanity) and innuendo, with very little of a very spiritually uplifting content.

The Key to Love was, overall, a cute book you could lose yourself in for a few hours, with several laugh out loud moments created by the love angels, Mable and Agnes.

I received this book courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Revell through Interviews & Reviews. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

The Christmas Swap By Melody Carlson

I have read many Melody Carlson Christmas stories, and they have all been cute and endearing, so it was with great anticipation that I signed up for The Christmas Swap.

The story’s premise is based on two families and some friends swapping homes. One family goes from Colorado to Arizona and the other family with a few friends travels to Colorado from Arizona. We read little about the family in Arizona as the focus of the story is the family and friends in Colorado.

Emma Daley is endeavoring to make a living as a teacher while striving to become a musician, too. Her best friend, Gillian Landers, was born with a silver spoon in her mouth, and therein lies the problem.

The story shows the overindulged, selfish, demanding and obnoxious brattiness, for lack of a better word, of Gillian and her family and friends, though her father seems less inclined to act entitled. I kept thinking, if I had a friend like Gillian or the Landers, I would have dropped them like hot potatoes years ago!

I had a hard time getting into the spirit of the sequence of events, as the constant bickering and entitlement portrayed by the Landers was so off-putting.

The overall story had many appealing moments, some quite engaging. But the story just wasn’t for me. Nonetheless, you may thoroughly enjoy it!

I received this book courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Revell, through Interviews & Reviews. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Publisher’s Summary

All Emma Daley wants this holiday season is a white Christmas. But the young teacher and struggling musician sure can’t find that in sunny Arizona. Luckily, there’s someone living in a perfect mountain home in the Colorado Rockies looking to make a vacation trade this year.

Tyler Prescott is an in-demand songwriter and talented musician who put his own singing career on hold to write songs for celebrity acts to perform. When his mother convinces him to do a vacation trade for Christmas, he never imagined one of the houseguests would be so sweet–or so strikingly pretty. Naturally, he decides to stick around, and, to get better acquainted, he poses as the house’s caretaker. But when Emma’s friend Gillian discovers his true identity and sets her sights on him, things
get . . . messy.

Fan-favorite Melody Carlson is back with another delightful Christmas tale to warm your heart on those cold winter evenings.

Scrumptious Independence by Melissa Wardwell on Tour with Celebrate Lit

About the Book

“Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

And so is Beth’s cooking! It’s a good thing, too. After a lifetime of her family’s smothering embrace, a whole new world opens to her with the passing of her beloved grandmother.

Armed with an inheritance she never expected and orders on how to use it, Beth sets off for Merriweather Island and fulfillment of a lifetime of dreams.

Or so she hopes.

What she didn’t hope for was what most women would—a man who fills her thoughts at the most wonderfully unwelcome times. She doesn’t have time or space for a relationship, but how do you tell love to just go away?

Of course, starting over in a new place is never easy, especially as an outsider in a small community. Add to that a mayor who has her dander up and a woman bound to make her life miserable, is it any wonder that Beth begins to doubt God’s and Gram’s plans?

With her heart betraying her resolve and challenges to her faith, Beth finds it takes bravery she didn’t know she had to discover just how scrumptious independence can be.

This “Merriweather book” is the second in a new series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

The Independence Island Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.

Click here to purchase your copy!

Melissa Wardwell created another delightful story with Scrumptious Independence, and even though it is book 2 in a series, it works well as a standalone.

Beth Andrews’ Gram surprised Beth and her family by willing her Merriweather home to Beth. Beth decides to leave Michigan and return to Merriweather Island. The remembrances of her sweet childhood with her Gram lure her back. She arrives with big plans, never expecting to run into her old friend, Scott, or jealous women or, even worse, the dangerous and mysterious things that happen to her.

Merriweather Island sounds like an idyllic and heavenly place to live. The way the islanders have ensured that the island won’t become a tourist trap is wonderful. The traveling food and book trucks sound delightful. And the weather. . .well, I would love it!!

I enjoyed the story very much. There was just the right amount of romance rounded out with treachery and intrigue. Gram was the perfect foil to Beth’s reserved personality. Scott was a sweetheart, and most of the residents of the Island were treasures. The cooking aspect was appealing, also, as food is a large part of social and familial interactions.

I can’t wait to read the other stories in the series!

I received Scrumptious Independence from Celebrate Lit. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

About the Author

Melissa Wardwell resides in Owosso, Michigan with her husband Jonathan, three children, a cat, and two pitbulls.

Besides writing, she enjoys reading, having coffee with friends, and spending quality time with her husband kayaking and fishing.

Melissa likes to joke about the voices in her head, but it is those voices that have inspired her to write several romance novels such as “I Know the Plans” (a story based in her hometown of Owosso) and “Finding Hope in Savannah”. When she is not penning works of fiction, she is busy reviewing books on her blog, Back Porch Reads.

To see more from Melissa Wardwell, visit www.melissawardwell.com

More from Melissa

“Lord, I don’t know how I can keep doing this.”

That was my prayer one evening in 2019 as I made my way to praise practice. I knew that writing was something God had called me to (because He never seems to call you to do something you enjoy) but the finances were just not there to publish another book. I felt lost in the uncertainty of the path moving forward and I needed a light. I had just shared all my concerns with my parents and left with my dad’s words ringing in my head. Are you writing to gain notoriety or are you writing for God?

The next morning, CelebrateLit had a post looking for submissions for a new and innovative series. Hope burst within me and I know I needed more information. I followed instructions and spoke with Sandy Barela and Chautona Havig. The more I was told, the more excited I became because I knew I needed to be part of this collection.

Ideas were hatched, characters began to talk, and a book proposal was sent. I continued to work on the development of characters and the mobile business knowing in my heart that God had given me this opportunity. I wouldn’t do things halfway. And when the confirmation email came, I was ready to share the beautiful story and characters that developed.

Beth is a food truck proprietor, so that means she spends most of her time cooking. In an effort to grow her recipes, I have been making videos of me cooking some of our family’s favorites as well as raiding my mom’s recipe box. The result is some amazing food to share.

Every book, pre-order card, and my YouTube channel has recipes on it. And so will this tour.

With it being summertime, our family doesn’t want those heavy meals so sometimes chips and sandwiches are all we need in the evenings. One favorite is my chicken salad.

Now, this recipe is easily substituted with other things like however, you like your chicken.

Melissa’s Chicken Salad

Feeds 4 (unless you have big eaters.)

2 cans of chicken (you can use cooked but this is quick and easy

1/2 cup of red grapes – halved

1/2 cup celery – diced

Make sure you rinse all of this well as you prep the salad

Dressing

1 1/2 cup of miracle whip (you can use mayo)

1/2 tsp mustard powder

1 tbsp white vinegar

1 tsp of sugar

Mix everything together and serve on your favorite bread option or on a bed of lettuce. I like mine in a pita pocket or on lettuce. This time it was with a pita pocket with a side of lightly salted chips and a pickle.

Now, just a little side note, you can add what ever veggie or fruit you like. Apples and cucumbers would be a great addition as well. So, don’t feel like you have to do things exactly like I do. Make it your own.

Bon appétit

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 21

Soulfully Romantic, September 21

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 21

Sara Jane Jacobs, September 21

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 22

Texas Book-aholic, September 22

Inklings and notions, September 22

For Him and My Family, September 23

deb’s Book Review, September 23

Artistic Nobody, September 23 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

She Lives To Read, September 24

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, September 24

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 24

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 24

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 25

Quiet Workings, September 25

21st Century Keeper at Home, September 25

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions , September 26

Older & Smarter?, September 26

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, September 26

Blogging With Carol, September 27

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, September 27

Batya’s Bits, September 27

Emily Yager, September 28

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, September 28

Stories By Gina, September 28

Reviewingbooksplusmore, September 28

CarpeDiem, September 29

Christian Bookaholic, September 29

Cultivating Us, September 29

Aryn the Libraryan, September 30

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 30

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 30

Connect in Fiction, October 1

The Collaborative Press, October 1

Livin’ Lit, October 1

Simple Harvest Reads, October 2 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

The Meaderings of a Bookworm, October 2

Godly Book Reviews, October 2

Joanne Markey, October 3

Captive Dreams Window, October 3

Vicky Sluiter, October 3

Blossoms and Blessings, October 4

Splashes of Joy, October 4

Pause for Tales, October 4

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Melissa is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10105/scrumptious-independence-celebration-tour-giveaway

To Love a Prince by Rachel Hauck on Tour with Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Book: To Love a Prince

Author: Rachel Hauck

Genre: Royal Romance

Release Date: August 11, 2020

An enchanting new royal romance from NYT bestselling author Rachel Hauck

Daffodil Caron is not a princess, even though she once dreamed of being one. After all, she grew up as a playmate to royal princes, running through the halls of Perrigwynn Palace and dining with the queen. But the day she stumbled upon a royal secret, everything changed.

Flash forward eighteen years, and Daffy’s living a sweet, non-royal life. A skilled art curator for the Royal Trust, she has friends, a flat in the heart of the city, and a handsome, successful fiancée. The last person on her mind is Gus, a prince she once called her best mate.

HRH Prince Augustus is no longer “Prince Pudgy,” as characterized by the press, he’s charming and gorgeous, possessing a world-famous smile. But when he’s jilted at the altar by an American heiress as millions of people around the world watched, the spare heir to Lauchtenland’s ancient House of Blue escapes, finding solace on a Florida beach.

A year as a regular bloke allows him to rethink his purpose. He’s half decided his calling is to pour pints at a tiki bar, rather than serving his country and the Family.

Until an accident on the beach with a Frisbee changes his course.

Despite his long hair and beard, Daffy recognizes her prince, and their childhood friendship is renewed. She assures Gus Lauchtenland needs him, giving him the courage to return home.

When Daffy and Gus find themselves on assignment to Hadsby Castle in preparation for his brother’s wedding, their friendship blooms into affection.

But Gus cannot, will not, trust his heart again. Daffy’s engaged. And she also remains a royal family outcast because she knows the Queen’s secret.

When affection grows into love and secrets are exposed, trust is destroyed. Gus must choose which is stronger: the lies of his past or the hope of his future. And Daffy must face every fear to prove she will forever love a prince.

“Another compelling royal story by the master of princely tales!” Susan May Warren, USA Today bestselling, RITA award-winning novelist

Click here to get your copy!

Rachel Hauck’s books always include characters from “beyond the veil,” and To Love A Prince is no exception.

I enjoy Hauck’s books, some more than others, and it usually depends on how much of what I consider “supernatural” is included. To Love A Prince has less than usual, and I found I enjoyed it even more.

Hauck’s newest book is based on the premise of childhood friends, now grown, one of royal persuasion and one not.

I felt the main female protagonist, Daffy, allowed her friends too much latitude and should have drawn the line at Lesley, Blinky and Thomas’ betrayals. Lesley’s second HUGE betrayal should have ended their friendship. I know we’re to turn the other cheek. However, I don’t feel we’re to be a mat for others to walk on.

Prince Gus, Daffy’s childhood friend, is “twice bitten, twice shy,” and wants to avoid anything to do with those of the female persuasion. However, the pull between him and Daffy is strong.

The novel is cute, whimsical and as always with Hauck’s books, slightly unusual, but fun.

I received To Love A Prince from Celebrate Lit. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

About the Author

Rachel Hauck is an award winning, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author.

Her book The Wedding Dress was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times Book Reviews. She is a double RITA finalist, and a Christy and Carol Award Winner.

Her book, Once Upon A Prince, first in the Royal Wedding Series, was filmed for an Original Hallmark movie.

Rachel has been awarded the prestigious Career Achievement Award for her body of original work by Romantic Times Book Reviews.

A member of the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers, she teaches workshops and leads worship at the annual conference. She is a past Mentor of The Year.

At home, she’s a wife, writer, worship leader and works out at the gym semi-enthusiastically.

A graduate of Ohio State University (Go Bucks!) with a degree in Journalism, she’s a former sorority girl and a devoted Ohio State football fan. Her bucket list is to stand on the sidelines with Ryan Day.

She lives in sunny central Florida with her husband and ornery cat.

More from Rachel

Hello Royal Rockstar Readers!

I’m thrilled to share To Love A Prince with you. So many of you who loved the Royal Wedding Series have asked for more royals so as I noodled over new story ideas, my thoughts drifted toward princes and princesses. What’s more romantic than a royal wedding?

This royal story, the first book in a new series, True Blue Royal, is set in a new fictional country, Lauchtenland, in the North Sea. I’m really squeezing all those oil wells currently occupying that body of water.

The beauty of royal stories is they remind us of who we really are: princes and princesses. There is always a point in the story where the royal character, as well as the commoner, must come to grips with his and her true identity! Who God says we are!

Stories are a powerful reflection of life and it’s fun to insert ourselves into the tale. While fiction employs a lot of hyperbole we can find ourselves on the page somewhere, somehow.

Thanks for going on this little tour with me and To Love A Prince. You are so vital to my story as an author. Thank you!

Yours,

Rachel

Blog Stops

Worthy2Read, September 10

Captive Dreams Windows, September 10

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 10

Genesis 5020, September 10

Novels Corner, September 10

Connect in Fiction, September 11

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 11

deb’s Book Review, September 11

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 11

Remembrancy, September 12

Breny and books, September 12

Texas Book-aholic, September 12

Inklings and notions, September 12

For Him and My Family, September 13

Artistic Nobody, September 13 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 13

The Book Chic Blog, September 13

Among the Reads, September 14

Soulfully Romantic, September 14

Ashley’s Bookshelf, September 14

Sara Jane Jacobs, September 14

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, September 15

lakesidelivingsite, September 15

All-of-a-kind Mom, September 15

Reflections From My Bookshelves, September 15

Betti Mace, September 16

Where Faith and Books Meet, September 16

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, September 16

Blossoms and Blesssings, September 16

She Lives To Read, September 17

Wishful Endings, September 17

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, September 17

Life of Literature, September 17

Life, Love, Writing, September 17

Book Love, September 18 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Maureen Timerman, September 18

Batya’s Bits, September 18

Labor Not in Vain, September 18

Bigreadersite, September 19

Hallie Reads, September 19

Jeanette’s Thoughts, September 19

Splashes of Joy, September 19

Christian Bookaholic, September 20

Musings of A Sassy Bookish Mama, September 20

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, September 20

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 20

Inside the Wong Mind, September 21

By The Book, September 21

Mary Hake, September 21

Godly Book Reviews, September 21

Hebrews 12 Endurance, September 22

Melissa Wardwell’s Back Porch Reads, September 22

Livin’ Lit, September 22

Writing from the Heart Land, September 22

Simple Harvest Reads, September 23 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Mamma Loves Books, September 23

Daysong Reflections, September 23

Black ‘n’ Gold Girl’s Book Spot, September 23

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away a royal gift box of Pampering Princess items that includes bath balms, tea, tiara and other surprises!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10098/to-love-a-prince-celebration-tour-giveaway

Dual Power of Convenience by Chautona Havig on Tour with Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Book:  Dual Power of Convenience

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre:  Christian Contemporary Romance

Release Date: July 28, 2020

When Richard Danforth inherits the family estate on Merriweather Island, he doesn’t have time to deal with it—especially not from halfway across the globe. He’s too busy working to become the world’s newest billionaire and avoiding the women who would detract him from his goals.

Enter Lyla Santana. Fresh out of Oxford University with a degree in antiques and a relationship that nearly killed her to leave, she’s eager for the isolation and treasure trove that is Danforth Hall. Lyla also is determined to avoid men at all costs. Forever.

It was supposed to be a match made on paper. With him halfway across the globe, they’d never have to see each other again.

So, what’s Richard doing on Merriweather just weeks after the wedding? And how will his arrival test Lyla’s faith, not to mention stretch their so-called relationship?

In a twist on billionaire romance and marriage of convenience, this “Merriweather book” kicks off a new series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.

The Independence Island Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.

Click here to get your copy!

I have said it before, and I will say it again. I love Chautona Havig’s books, fiction and non-fiction alike. However, her non-fiction books are much more-just by definition-serious than her fiction books Havig’s newest novel, Duel Power of Convenience, is no exception. I enjoyed it, too.

Mallory Barrows, longtime resident of Merriweather Island, befriends newcomer Lyla Santana. Lyla is presented with an unusual and unique “proposal.” After a lengthy pros and cons discussion with Mallory, Lyla decides to “go for it.”

Richard Danforth, world’s newest billionaire, lives in a small country halfway around the world, when he receives news he’s inherited the family estate on Merriweather Island. Much to his consternation, he must return to Merriweather Island, thus he sets plans in motion.

The characters feel so real they could be your neighbors and friends, and the setting, I think, is more swoon-worthy than Richard Danforth himself (and probably worth more, too!!). Would that it were a real location. The idea of a mobile bookstore/coffee shop like Mallory owns really appeals to me, too.

I appreciate Havig’s Biblical applications throughout the book. Their inclusion adds a nice dimension and a far deeper meaning to the story.

I received Duel Power of Convenience from Celebrate Lit. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

About the Author

Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her on the web and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

More from Chautona

Did I Really Agree to Write a Romance Series?

When my fledgling little idea for a single book transformed into a series that then transformed into a SERIES, I kind of missed the part where I agreed (and likely suggested, if truth be told), that the books should be contemporary romance.

I mean, beach reads.  Romance.  Duh.

There’s just one problem?  I rarely write a straight-up romance.  And if I do, it’s usually a short novella in a collection—often at Christmas.

Why?

Isn’t it obvious?

Despite nine kids and being married for almost thirty-two years, I am THE most unromantic woman on the planet. No habla amor.  Or something like that.

So there I was, toodling down the 395 (a treacherous bit of road between my house and the publisher’s) when all of what I’d agreed to exploded in my brain.  I’m still scraping brain matter off the windshield and trying to stuff it back in. I need every last one of those “little gray cells,” thank-you-very-much!

Romance.  My heart sank.  Boy meets girl.  They like each other.  They fight.  They get back together.  They live happily ever after.

It’s a thing, folks.  A formula.  And if you deviate, true romance readers get annoyed.  What was I going to do?  I didn’t want to write romance.  Not really. I had ideas.  The prequel book had been all about trying to bring a young woman back to the Lord.  That’s more my speed, okay?

The wheels began churning.

The ones in my head, I mean.  The tires still rolled along the ground. Fortunately, my cranial explosion hadn’t caused an accident or anything.  Just in case you were curious.

I considered making each one loosely related to a fairy tale retelling.  I’d have a Cinderella story, a Beauty and the Beast, a… nope. That made it that far and I just couldn’t.  The minute we got to Sleeping Beauty, I’d have my readers in comas.  No. Thanks.

Next came Rom-com.  We’d make it funny.  All the stuff that happens in beach romances gone wrong.  Why not?  We live once!

I was yawning before the thought finished forming.

Right about then, I think, is when I wondered what kind of tropes I needed to consider.

See, romance tropes are a thing.  I even talk about them on my podcastThe tingling sensation that comes when a good idea is brewing happened.  A grin formed.

Tropes. I’d play with tropes.  I’d take all those familiar things and twist them somehow.  Why not?  It would be fun.

And it was.

Right about then is probably when I began recording my ideas.  Creosote and sage whizzed past at breakneck speeds (let me dream.  I’m not a speed demon, but c’mon… for the sake of poetic license and all?). And the ideas whizzed faster (no license needed.  They really did).

Book 1.  Marriage of convenience.  I mean, those are always fun, right?  So why on earth would someone need to get married?

Every idea I came up with has been done… and done again.

That’s when I upped the stakes. Authors do that, you know. We come up with a way to torment our characters, and then we say, “Okay, now how can I make this worse?  Nope, I need it even worse.  Oh, and…” Bam!  The story goes from interesting to can’t-put-it-down.  All because we’re not afraid to be cruel to non-existent people. Score!

How’d I do it with this one? I added in another trope. One I personally just can’t “get.”  People love the things, and I’ve got no idea why.  But it answered my first question of why someone might need a marriage of convenience or… as my gal puts it… “a paper marriage.”

My guy became the world’s newest billionaire.

Yep, you read that right. I wrote a “billionaire romance.”  Sort of.  Now, if I could figure out how on earth I’d take two people on opposite sides of the world and get them together.

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Oh, yeah.  I did it.  And even more than that, I love it.  I made my characters do some stupid things. I really did (you know, like how two Christians didn’t even pray about their marriage decision?  Like how they didn’t even ask if the other person was saved?  Why should they?  They’ll never see each other again… they said.  Ha!  The Lord had other ideas.  Sorta.  This is fiction, right?  Oops! I suddenly feel like that crazy Kathy Morningside in Miss Congeniality).

From Adelanto to Kramer Jct., I planned out that first book—Dual Power of Convenience.

(the title gives away that reason for marrying, no?  Also, links may be affiliate links that provide a small commission at no extra expense to you.)

It was almost too easy.

Then I started playing with the next ones, and the series became a reality to me.

Dual Power of Conveniencewhen a woman too afraid of men goes to work for a man who is too busy making money to want anything to do with that whole marriage and family thing.

Bookers on the Rocks— This couple’s marriage is on the rocks (that’s the trope, of course), and neither of them has a clue. They’ve been married for twenty-five years, neither is having an affair, no one wants a divorce, life is good, so why is it on the rocks?  You’ll see…

Directing Hearts— The Crawforths got tricked into allowing a reality matchmaking show film on their islands. Brooks Crawforth tangles with the director until their verbal battles turn into a different kind—a battle for their hearts (enemies to “lovers”)

Just a Memory— In this one, Mallory Barrows (who makes appearances in all of the books) comes across an old journal that tells a story she’d never heard. It’s the old Patti Paige song “Go On with the Wedding” but over forty years later!  Mallory knows something that might just create a (here comes the trope) second chance at romance.

Printed on Her Heart— After being instrumental in so many couples’ relationships, it’s Mallory’s turn in this dual-trope story.  In this one, we get a mashup of friends to more and love at first sight.  Can’t wait to share it.  Squee!

Okay, that’s the deal.  Yes, I really did agree to write a romance series.

And yes, it probably was my idea.

I might deny it to my dying day, but it is also a whole lot of fun… so far.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, August 5

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 5

Inklings and notions, August 6

lakesidelivingsite, August 6

deb’s Book Review, August 6

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, August 7

Rebekah Jones, Author, August 7

For Him and My Family, August 7

Artistic Nobody, August 8 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, August 8

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 9

Ashley’s Bookshelf, August 9

21st Century Keeper at Home, August 9

She Lives To Read, August 10

Simple Harvest Reads, August 10 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, August 11

Adventures of a Traverlers wife, August 11

Emily Yager, August 12

Stories By Gina, August 12

CarpeDiem, August 12

cultivating us, August 13

Connect in Fiction, August 13

Livin’ Lit, August 13

Read Review Rejoice, August 14

Quiet Workings, August 14

Blossoms and Blessings, August 14

Just Your Average reviews, August 15

Rebekah Reads, August 15

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 15

Lis Loves Reading, August 16

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, August 16

Splashes of Joy, August 16

Pause for Tales, August 17

Captive Dreams Window, August 17

Spoken from the Heart, August 17

Lots of Helpers, August 18

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, August 18

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book (winner’s choice of eBook or paperback format)!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/ff14/dual-power-of-convenience-celebration-tour-giveaway

Sincerely Yours by Kari Trumbo on Tour with Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Book: Sincerely Yours

Author: Kari Trumbo

Genre: Contemporary Christian Romance

Release Date: July 26, 2019

What if you fell in love with a man you’d never met?

When marketing coordinator Liberty Dryden tries to help radio station owner and DJ Tom Higgs attract new listeners and advertisers, she hits a roadblock.
He refuses to meet with her, and she has no idea why.

Tom has an affliction that’s plagued him his whole life—a painfully crippling stutter. On air, he can speak to thousands, but in person, he stumbles to find every word.

After a woman stalked him, he’s convinced his fame and fortune are all women want. He’s unable to tell Liberty why he won’t meet in person. How could he explain his unfounded doubts and his own issues?

Without her, disaster looms for his station. But, meeting her might prove he’s right about women.

Liberty takes matters into her own hands and calls into his radio show… using an assumed name.
She never expects to hit it off with him. If she reveals her secret, it will put her new relationship and her job at risk.

Click here to get your copy!

Kari Trumbo’s newest book, Sincerely Yours, introduces an interesting premise to your standard Christian romance.

Liberty Dryden lost her job and was offered one by her best friend’s husband. However, there was one strange caveat; she had to deal with her boss, Tom Higgs, through e-mails only.

Needing to know more about her job and wanting to learn more about Tom, Liberty does something that on the surface seemed okay, but in the end, her “sin of omission” created havoc in her, Tom and her friend’s lives.

The story is somewhat emotional because of trials Tom and Liberty face. I came to care for them both, as I read about the circumstances they were facing and how they struggled to overcome them. One thing they both did is something I struggle with myself – relying on themselves or friends to get them through circumstances they should turn to God for.

This aspect of the book resonated with me greatly. I personally prefer Christian fiction (though I do read non-Christian and non-fiction, too), and because there wasn’t but a smidgen of Biblical beliefs in the book, I wished there were more instances of them turning to God. For me, when there is less turning to God by the characters, it causes me to look up verses to help me with my own trials, thus becoming a teaching tool, too. If you think about it, that’s a good thing!

Trumbo’s books are always good, and you can’t go wrong reading them. I’m looking forward to the sequels in this series and learning more about Liberty and Tom’s friends.

I received Sincerely Yours from Celebrate Lit. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

About the Author

Kari Trumbo is a bestselling author of Christian historical and contemporary romance novels. Her books are known for characters who feel real, settings you could move to, and faith woven between the pages. She makes her home in central Minnesota with her husband of over twenty years, two daughters, two sons, and never enough time.

More from Kari

Thank you all so much for joining me on my blog tour! I’m happy to be here. I write an eclectic mix of historical (western) and contemporary (western and not) romance, sometimes with a hint of suspense woven in. I can’t help it; my education is a degree in psychology with a sociology minor focusing on criminality and deviance… the suspense just happens whether I plan it or not.

I am one of those writers who usually gets a story idea and then writes it. I usually don’t write a book just because I “should”. That being said, this is one of those books where readers asked for it and I delivered. The first story in the series is in a popular book bundle Betwixt Two Hearts. In my story, the secondary character Liberty Dryden (named after one of my readers) is a really fun character, even though she’s only in a few scenes. Readers liked her so much, they wanted her to have her own happily ever after.

Then the hard part began.

I liked Liberty and I spent a while in her head, trying to figure her out. She was a tough one because Liberty has some hurts. She feels alone and a little used. Don’t we all? But how to write that in a way where the reader wasn’t bored by her self-doubt. Because, let’s face it, it’s cool when a story touches us in a way that is familiar, but if it’s overdone…snooze. I liked the idea that because of their hurts, both characters were shy. So, I gave myself a challenge. These two couldn’t meet until later in the story, but it still had to feel like a romance.

It’s a little like the movie You’ve Got Mail, but different too.

This series was my first big step outside of the western genre (which is funny, because I’m not at all western) and that forced me to think in new ways, which helped with the characters and bringing this story to life.

My favorite poignant quote from Sincerely Yours is, “If I can’t forgive those who ask for it, it ruins my witness. I literally can’t be the love of Jesus if I’m not willing to forgive those who wronged me. Especially if they earnestly ask.”

Thank you for joining me and happy reading!

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, July 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 24

Inklings and notions, July 25

For Him and My Family, July 26

deb’s Book Review, July 26

Older & Smarter?, July 27

Through the Fire Blogs, July 28

reviewingbooksplusmore, July 28

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 29

Wishful Endings, July 30

Rebecca Tews, July 30

Britt Reads Fiction, July 31

Life, Love, Writing, July 31

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, August 1

Read Review Rejoice, August 1

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 2

Captive Dreams Window, August 2

Book of Ruth Ann, August 3

Pause for Tales, August 3

Godly Book Reviews, August 4

Livin’ Lit, August 4

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, August 5

Batya’s Bits, August 5

Artistic Nobody, August 6 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, August 6

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kari is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and signed copies of Sincerely Yours and Winter in Wonderland!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/fe33/sincerely-yours-celebration-tour-giveaway

Being Known by Robin Jones Gunn


Robin Jones Gunn books are always encouraging to read. Gunn, time after time, pens realistic, true to life stories, and Being Known delivers the encouraging read I had expected.

Being Known focuses mainly on Jennalyn, a young mother of two children, and her difficulties in handling home, friends and life alone due to a virtually absent, workaholic husband. Many women can easily and readily identify with Jennalyn’s struggles and frustrations at her husband’s constant excuses, even if they are valid (at least in his mind), and his absences are at times necessary.

The story picks up with the Haven Makers aka DOEs (Daughters of Eve), a group of young married and single female friends who meet periodically to inspire, boost and nurture each other through the good and bad times of their lives. The group is founded on Biblical principles and draws heavily on Biblical truths to guide them.

I had a small problem with this book in the beginning.  I thought it faltered at first, with a spate of short, choppy sentences.  Don’t be deterred.  When the novel hits its stride, the story that emerges develops wonderfully and flows seamlessly.  No one should miss this heartening and inspiring book.

Being Known is the sequel to Becoming Us but works fine as a stand-alone.

I received this book from NetGalley and Multnomah. However, I was under no obligation to write a review.

#BeingKnown #NetGalley

Publisher’s Summary

From the bestselling author of Becoming Us comes a novel that asks: What does it mean to be truly known? In a marriage, in a friendship, or by a loving God?
 
After her mom passed away, Jennalyn was in the midst of moving, adjusting to life with a new baby, and helping her husband, Joel, work toward his dream job. At the time, she thought she’d processed her mother’s death, but only now that Jennalyn has two small children, a lovely new home, and a husband who is always working does she feel the full impact of what she has lost.

Even among her sweet circle of friends, the Haven Makers, grief silently overwhelms Jennalyn, until an unexpected encounter allows her to express herself in ways she hasn’t fully been able to with her husband. Even though Christy, Sierra, Emily, and Tess provide a soft place to land in times of tension, Jennalyn remains guarded, especially when Tess reveals she is tangled emotionally in a relationship that was thorny from the start.

Will the two women open up and remain honest with the others in their Haven Makers group? Or will their hesitation to truly be known, faults and all, keep them from holding on to the friendships that have been the sweetest gift during this season of life?

Within Golden Bands (A Home for My Heart Book 2) by Norma Gail

Within Golden Bands, Norma Gail’s newest book, transports you to the beautiful area of Loch Garry in Scotland where the main characters, Bonny and Kieran MacDonell, live. The descriptions portray a peaceful, calm and tranquil area. However, it is anything but for Bonny and Kieran.

I was unaware that Within Golden Bands was the sequel to Land of My Dreams. I found though, that except for one or two small exceptions, I was able to follow the story quite easily.

The book is full of action, suspense, mystery and intrigue, along with following the honeymoon and getting to know one another phase of the MacDonell’s lives.

There were several things I appreciated about the story. For instance, the way Gail describes a devastating but very real loss and its effects on both the characters and their family and friends. The faith storyline was skillfully written without self-righteousness or holier than thou. Nonetheless, there were several aspects of the book I struggled with. I could not comprehend how any one person, much less two, could bear up under the constant, non-stop onslaught of pain, tragedy, fear and horror in this story. Some of the more descriptive pages of the aforementioned horror are truly horrific.

I would caution anyone with PTSD or other such difficulties that there are several heartbreaking and heart-stopping scenes.

I received this book from the author. However, I was under no obligation to write a review.

Publisher’s Summary

Newly married Bonny MacDonell finds the transition from American college professor to Scottish sheep farmer’s wife more difficult than she expected. When her miracle pregnancy ends in a devastating miscarriage, she fears her husband’s reaction will hurt more than the loss of their child.

But Kieran never shows up at the hospital. When found, he is beaten and unconscious. The only memory of his attacker is the words, “Get off my land.” Reeling from the threat to her husband and the loss of their child, Bonny struggles to hold her marriage together. When faith in love is not enough, where do you turn?

#WithinGoldenBands

Unveiling the Past by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Kim Vogel Sawyer’s newest book, Unveiling the Past, is a multi-layered, multifaceted book. However, even though there is more than one story woven throughout the pages, it is not overly complex or complicated.

I’ve never read a mystery/suspense storyline by Sawyer and did not realize this was a sequel. I still enjoyed it very much.

The protagonists are determined to get to the bottom of the mysteries surrounding their own lives and the lives of those who need their help. Their persistence is admirable.

Sawyer also introduces a spiritual element that is hard to resist. She doesn’t browbeat you or use hellfire and brimstone to get her message across. She just gently introduces it as a vital element in the lives of the main characters, then lets their lives speak for their faith. The degree to which she weaves it seamlessly and effortlessly into the story is creditable.

Unveiling the Past has a few unsettling scenes for anyone who has difficulty reading such occurrences or events. (I have PTSD and a few scenes were slightly disturbing to me, but I was able to read the entire book.)

I am now looking forward to purchasing and reading the first book in the series, Bringing Maggie Home.

I received the book from Waterbrook. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

(Releases today!!)

#Waterbrook

Publisher’s Summary

Mysteries, family secrets, and the love of a true Father are found at the heart of this gripping novel from the bestselling author of Bringing Maggie Home

Newlyweds Sean Eagle and Meghan DeFord are no strangers to pain and loss. As cold-case detectives, they know intimately the anguish family members endure after the murder or disappearance of a loved one. But when a new case hits too close to home, it threatens to pull loose the fragile cords of their young marriage.

Sheila Menke was just a girl when her father left for work and never returned. An investigation revealed he had embezzled enough to start a new life elsewhere, but Sheila could never accept the court’s criminalization of her father. Meghan reluctantly takes the case, secretly fearing it will stir up buried feelings about her own biological father. And while Sean investigates the mysterious death of two young brothers, he longs to start a family. But Meghan worries that with a negligent mother and an absentee father as her parenting examples, she might never be fit for motherhood.

As they delve deeper into the past, both Meghan and Sheila must choose to either stumble along the road of bitterness and resentment or walk the difficult path toward forgiveness and healing. When the cases begin to break wide open, these young women are poised to discover that while earthly fathers may fail, there is one in heaven who is a father to the fatherless.