The Softest Breath (Echoes of the Heart Book 2) by Naomi Musch ~ a review

AAA The Softest Breath

Historical Romance

What I really love about this novel, well aside from the fact that the author captures the post WWI era perfectly, is that her characters are multidimensional. It’s not the often reworked scenario where the flapper has a heart of gold, but that Gwendolyn Smith has a deep interior life.

The saddest thing was Gwen’s early life. She was abandoned by her mother, befriended by Hugh Phelps, an older man who purported to be father-like, but used her incredible singing ability to make a lot of money for himself. He controlled and intimidated her, holding her emotionally and financially captive, and even physically abused her on occasion.

Jacob Hessman doesn’t have a way with women. From what I gathered in backstory, he had his heart and his pride smashed to smithereens in the previous novel in the series. I started with this novel because I like the Roaring Twenties era so much. He completely misreads Gwen when she actually physically runs into him at the St. Paul train station as she frantically tries to find a train she can board to run away from Phelps. She follows Jacob onto a train and to a small town where he helps her partially out of Christian kindness and partially out of an intense instant attraction.

This novel is well worth the read. I recommend it to anyone who loves the 1920s era in American history as much as I do.

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Christmas Under Wraps (Mullet Harbor Book 1) by Fay Lamb ~ a review

Christmas Under Wraps

Romance, Humor, Christmas

This is such an engaging Christmas story. The cast of quirky, sometimes baffling townsfolk living in Mullet Harbor pull you right in.

English Professor Christian Abrams and his nephew Dylan are on the run and wind up in Mullet Harbor, a unique hamlet in the Florida everglades. Chris is broke, out of gas, and has a child to feed. This is when he meets sweet and compassionate local school teacher Kaylee McFarland who talks him into staying in Mullet Harbor at least until after Christmas. That’s when it starts to get interesting…and when Chris learns the townsfolk really do take care of each other and they rely on their faith.

We meet Herb, the mayor who wears flip-flops…and Abigail, the shy town baker who flits around like a hummingbird. Then throw in a Cajun sheriff not afraid to take a chance on a good man. Stir in a delightful little girl named Sophie who’s had more than her share of sorrow in her short life. Could the icing on the top be a Christmas miracle? Perhaps more than one.

This is a fun, delightful read…a romp through the swamp. There’s also an alligator named Abercrombie.

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Magnolia Storms (A Coastal Hearts Novel) by Janet W. Ferguson ~ a review

Magnolia Storms

Romance, Christian Fiction

With Hurricane Dorian bearing down on the Bahamas as a Cat 5 this Labor Day weekend, I decided to finish reading this emotional novel of devastation, hope, and love.

The author skillfully achieves a sense of foreboding from the very beginning. Hero and Gulf Coast river bar pilot Josh Bergeron attempts to board a cargo ship in rough water and his foot slips off of the rung of the metal ladder. I am mostly a detective story reader and/or action-adventure. The most exciting parts of this novel for me were Josh’s scenes out on tumultuous seas.

Later in the story, we learn that heroine Maggie Marovich’s father, also a bar pilot and Josh’s mentor was swept away and lost during Hurricane Katrina. She left the Gulf Coast, never to return, but now her sister Cammie’s horrid accident and hospitalization forces Maggie back to their childhood home as another hurricane looms.

As a Christian reader, I appreciated the Bible verse that kept repeating: “Though he slay me, yet I will trust in Him.” Job 13:15

All of the characters were highly likeable and well developed in this emotional romance story. I’m not a romance reader and didn’t absolutely and totally fall into their lives. My favorite character was Aunt Ruth. I do recommend this novel to romance readers who enjoy a realistic, exciting clean read.

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Annabelle’s Ruth (The Kinsman Redeemer Book 1) by Betty Thomason Owens ~ a review

Annabelle's Ruth

This beautifully crafted retelling of the biblical story of the Book of Ruth, brought forward to and set in the racially turbulent American south of the 1950s, stays true to the essence of the original.

The story gripped me from the beginning when Annabelle Cross and her two daughters-in-law lose their husbands off the coast of California when their fishing boat capsizes. Following the biblical narrative, one daughter-in-law leaves Annabelle to return to her parents, but native Hawaiian born Connie stays and they both travel to Annabel’s home in Tennessee. Most of the locals are happy to have Annabelle home again, but a few whisper that Connie is mixed-race mulatto.

Figuratively speaking, I wanted to bite my nails when one of Annabelle’s close relatives, a powerful local man who might have be involved in some shady deals, dearly wanted for her to be forced to leave Tennessee and to take that daughter-in-law with her.

Where the biblical Ruth picked wheat, Connie struggles with mourning for her dead husband and hides her pregnancy as she does the back-breaking labor of picking cotton. Alton, who owns the fields (her “Boaz”) takes note and has compassion for her. I loved the relationship of Connie and Alton growing from mutual respect to a deep love.

Purchas Annabelle’s Ruth on Amazon

Betty’s Amazon Author Page

Delilah (Ties that Bind, Book 4) by Fay Lamb ~ a review

Contemporary Christian Romance

Delilah

 

As the story opened, I thought, what fun! Court room antics. A judge and a defense lawyer without a clue they’re in love with each other…when their legal colleagues have known for some time.

A line tickled my funny bone where Delilah defined herself: “Hope has a lot more faith in my goodness than I do. If something good happens, and I’m involved, you can be sure you’re at the scene of an accident.” Yes, it was funny, and I’ve read another novel in this series and know Delilah can be self-serving. However, I suspected there was much more to this sassy female defense attorney than she’s admitting to…and author Fay Lamb shows us that “more” as the story unfolded.

Then the story seamlessly transitions from lighthearted romance to a runaway teenage girl and the plight of the homeless in downtown Orlando, Florida. When Libby, perhaps the sweetest, kindest character in the Ties That Bind series, gets set up and is arrested when coming to the assistance of a near homeless woman…Delilah goes into action. Who is this homeless woman and what is her story?

There are plot twists and turns, a bit of suspense, and no end of underhanded court maneuvers to keep the reader turning pages. The author was able to get me so entwined in the character’s lives, dreams, and struggles that I was compelled to keep turning pages. I highly recommend this novel.

A Harvest of Blessings by June Foster ~ a spotlight

A Harvest of BlessingsContemporary Romance

 

I’m particularly excited to spotlight June Foster’s new release, A HARVEST OF BLESSINGS,  because it presents a 50+ romance. This blog has featured many articles for 50+ readers. So, the novel is right up our alley.

*****

If there’s one thing Nadia Maguire knows, Jon Maguire robbed her of a godly marriage and left her in financial ruin. The night he was killed in an accident, guilt threatened to suffocate her. She wasn’t sorry he died.

When Nadia accidentally sits on a stranger’s lap in the graveyard where Jon is buried, she’s horrified to learn the good-looking guy with salt and pepper hair is her new boss.

Jared Abrams is a widower who longs to move on. He’s intrigued by the beautiful woman who puts God first in her life. But as their friendship grows, an unexpected obstacle separates them—his daughter Sarah. No one can replace her mother. Especially not Nadia Maguire whose son harmed her in high school.

If Nadia can’t find the funds to get her house ready to sell, she’ll have to balance two jobs with no time left to nurture a relationship with the man she loves. Will she and Jared find a Harvest of Blessings, or a season of drought?

*****

Nike:  Tell us something topical, interesting, funny, or something we would not expect about the writing of this novel.

June: I love to pattern my novels on real life when I can. Several years ago, my husband and I traveled full time in our RV. (That’s another story in itself. I loved the lifestyle.) We spent a winter in Pensacola, Florida. Since my husband is retired military, we stayed in the RV park on the naval post in Pensacola and enjoyed attending the military chapel. We met a couple about our age and went to dinner with them one Sunday. They proceeded to tell us their story. They met in the cemetery on post while both visiting their dead spouses. That idea, or course, sparked a story idea. I recently decided to incorporate the scenario in my next novel. Thus, A HARVEST OF BLESSINGS was born.

Nike:  If this novel is part of a series, tell us about the series.

June:  Yes, A HARVEST OF BLESSINGS is number 3 in my Small Town Series. The series takes place in the fictional town of Oak Mountain, Alabama, east of Huntsville. In book one, LETTING GO, a pastor loses his wife and unborn child to death and can’t find the will to pastor his church any longer. The woman who’s always loved him abandons all hope of a relationship with him. Book two, PRESCRIPTION FOR ROMANCE, is a modern day retelling of the Biblical story of the Prodigal Son. Book 4 is in the works as we speak. The same characters turn up in all four books.

Nike:  If this novel is holiday themed, or is releasing on or near a holiday tell us how you feel about that holiday.

June:  Yes, the novel carries a Thanksgiving theme. At the end of the story, the characters celebrate with a Thanksgiving feast. But that’s not to reveal the ending.

Nike: Is this novel unique/uncommon in some way. Does it deal with age 50+ romance, plus-size issues, disabilities, etc.

June:  The novel is unique in that the romance features a 50+ hero and heroine. I’ve received a lot of responses to the book since it was published. Readers say they enjoy reading romance between middle aged folks.

BIO:

June Foster

June Foster is an award-winning author who began her writing career in an RV roaming around the USA with her husband, Joe. She brags about visiting a location before it becomes the setting in her contemporary romances. June’s characters find themselves in precarious circumstances where only God can offer redemption and ultimately freedom. Find June at junefoster.com.

Purchase on Amazon:  A HARVEST OF BLESSINGS

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Rebecca’s Legacy by Betty Thomason Owens ~ spotlight

Rebecca's Legacy

Historical Romantic Suspense/Inspirational Fiction

Betty is such an awesome writer, you just have to check out Rebecca’s Legacy, Book 3 Legacy series.

*****

Amy Juliana Emerson might be a cultured debutante, but she’s doing her best to follow her mom’s rebellious footsteps. Her desperate attempt to escape her father’s control, however, comes at the worst possible time.

Robert Emerson has received a threat against his family in an attempt to take over his company, Sanderson Industries. To guarantee his willful daughter’s safety, he sends her to work on a produce farm run by her Aunt Rebecca. Maybe her quiet strength and unconditional love can work on Amy, keep her from becoming the prodigal daughter she seems insistent on being.

Matt Wordsworth is the man Robert calls upon to make sure his daughter stays in line. His only interest in the beautiful girl is purely part of his job. Purely. Amy considers him a fuddy-duddy which suits the situation perfectly, allowing him to stay close to her without concern for her losing her heart to him. And his own heart … well, his feelings didn’t matter. This was business.

INTERVIEW:

Nike:  Tell us something topical, interesting, funny, or something we would not expect about the writing of this novel.

Betty:  Amy Juliana Emerson was born in Amelia’s Legacy, the first book in the Legacy series. I always wanted to tell her story. When her character began to flesh out in my writing, I loved her instantly. She made me laugh. The main antagonist in Rebecca’s Legacy, Thad Greene, was supposed to be a constant thorn in Amy’s side, but something happened as I was writing his character. He ran into a snag that changed the entire plot line and shocked the author. Yes, that’s right, I was surprised. So, now you know I’m not a plotter. I contemplated an adjustment to the story, but honestly, the pivotal scene just felt right.

Nike:  If this novel is part of a series, tell us about the series.

Betty:  The Legacy series begins with Amelia’s Legacy, Nancy Sanderson’s attempt to free herself from her grandmother’s iron-fisted control. In book two, Carlotta’s Legacy, Nancy’s best friend Rebecca Lewis feels compelled to enter into marriage with a man she barely knows, a young Italian count who owns a vineyard in Umbria. The ongoing theme of the Legacy series is discovering love through family.

Nike:  Can you give us a sneak peek or preview into the next work in progress (WIP) you’re working on? When do you expect to release it?

Betty:  I’m working on the final book in the Kinsman Redeemer series. The first book, Annabelle’s Ruth, is a retelling of the Biblical story of Ruth, set in 1950s rural south. I was able to use many of my childhood memories of the setting and actual people (fictionalized, of course) who lived then. Book 2, Sutter’s Landing, continues the story. In the final book, Annabelle (the Naomi character) struggles with her feelings for a man who’s pursuing her. I’m hoping she’ll overcome her objections and accept his proposal, but we’ll see. The working title is “Annabelle’s Beau.” I hope the book will be ready for release in 2019.

Nike:  Were you good in English as a student? Did you enjoy reading and writing back then?

Betty:  English and literature were two of my favorite subjects in school. I read all the time and enjoyed a variety of subjects and authors. My senior year of high school, I was a teacher’s pet—er—aid for my English Lit class. That was when I became interested in the classics. I read books by the Bronte sisters, Dickens, and du Maurier. When it came time to read Les Misérables for class, I was horribly bored. But a couple years later after high school ended, I was even more bored, and picked it up again. Wow. I was hooked. I read it through twice and loved it. I don’t remember writing, except when it was required. The desire to write came on suddenly in my early thirties. I often quip that I started writing to keep my sanity while raising three boys. A friend read one of my early stories and encouraged me to pursue it. I took a short story writing class at the University of Louisville. The professor loved my story and urged me to continue writing.

Betty Thomason Owens

BIO:

Betty Thomason Owens is an award-winning writer of historical fiction, contemporary fiction, and fantasy-adventure. She’s an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), where she leads a critique group, and is V.P./Secretary of the Louisville area ACFW group. She’s also a speaker, a mentor assisting other writers, co-founder of a blog dedicated to inspiring writers, and serves on the planning committee for the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference.

Her writing credits include the Legacy Series, and the southern historical Kinsman Redeemer Series (Book 1, ANNABELLE’S RUTH, is a 2015 Grace Award winner, and has recently been translated into Spanish). She has two fantasy-adventure novels, THE LADY OF THE HAVEN and A GATHERING OF EAGLES, in a second edition published by Sign of the Whale BooksTM, an imprint of Olivia Kimbrell PressTM.

Betty’s website 

Purchase Rebecca’s Legacy on Amazon