Sunday, June 23, 2013

Rich Historical Fiction -- To Whisper Her Name

About a year and a half ago, through an offer to participate in a blog tour, I was introduced to Tamera Alexander's writing, and I'm so, so glad I was! 

To Whisper Her Name is another awesome southern historical novel.  Once again, Tamera does a fantastic job of mixing historical events, locations, and characters with fiction and crafting a beautiful story that grips you from the very first page and holds you to the very end.  I could almost see, hear, and feel the people, the horses, and the grounds of Belle Meade Plantation as Olivia and Ridley dealt with their pasts and dared to dream of the future.  The characters, from Confederate General William Giles Harding, to Uncle Bob, Jedediah, and the other freed slaves at Belle Meade, came alive on the pages and ga
ve a very authentic feel to the story.  The research Tamera has done is evident and helps to transport you to the setting rich in actual history.

If you've had the pleasure of reading Tamera's first Belmont Mansion novel -- A Lasting Impression -- you will recognize the mention of Adelicia Acklen.  These two books are set in the same time period, just miles apart from each other near Nashville, Tennessee. 

If you enjoy great post-Civil-war era fiction, or if you're a fan of well-written Christian fiction in general, check out To Whisper Her Name.  It's a little longer than many novels on the market now, but it is worth every page.

About the Book

Set at Nashville’s historic Belle Meade Plantation, the most influential thoroughbred stud farm in America’s history, To Whisper Her Name weaves the struggles of real people of the post-war South with the journeys of a man and a woman scarred by betrayal.
Olivia Aberdeen, destitute widow of a man shot as a traitor to the South, is shunned by proper society and gratefully accepts an invitation from “Aunt” Elizabeth Harding, mistress of Belle Meade Plantation. Expecting to be the Harding’s head housekeeper, Olivia is disillusioned when she learns the real reason Elizabeth’s husband, Confederate General William Giles Harding, agreed to her coming. Not finding the safe haven she expects, Olivia is caught off guard by her feelings for Ridley Adam Cooper, a Southern man who seems anything but a Southern gentleman.

Branded a traitor by some, Ridley Cooper, a Southern son who chose to fight for the Union, is a man desperate to end the war still raging inside him. Determined to learn “the gift” that Belle Meade's head horse trainer and former slave, Bob Green, possesses, Ridley harbors secrets that threaten both their lives.
As Ridley seeks to make peace within himself for “betraying” the South he loved, Olivia is determined to never be betrayed again.

About the Author

Tamera Alexander is a bestselling novelist whose works have been awarded and nominated for numerous industry-leading honors, including the Christy Award, the RITA Award, and the Carol Award. After seventeen years in Colorado, Tamera and her husband have returned to their native South and live in Nashville, Tennessee, where they enjoy spending time with their two grown children, and a ten pound silky terrier named Jack.

Learn more about Tamera at her website.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Finding the Truth -- Slow Moon Rising

Two years ago, I had the privilege of visiting Cedar Key, Florida, for the first time -- vicariously, through the pages of Eva Marie Everson's Chasing Sunsets.  Through that journey, I fell in love with Cedar Key and with Everson's writing.  A return visit last year through Waiting for Sunrise was just as enjoyable.

Slow Moon Rising closes out this series in the same manner.  The story is intriguing, and the characters are people easy to care about and who I would like to meet in real life.

This story is somewhat unique in that it is told in first-person voice from the perspective of multiple characters.  While that technique might be difficult to do well, Eva pulls it off in a great style that allows the reader to feel close to each individual.  Although Chasing Sunsets was my favorite, I found the entire series fascinating, beginning with Kimberly's story, then traveling back and beyond to learn so much more.

This book was provided free from Revell for my honest review.

Available June 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

About the Book

One family, one secret--and one chance to make it right.
The beautiful Claybourne home on Cedar Key has long been a place of rest, healing, and release. Each member of the family has turned there in times of confusion, loss, and hurt, only to feel their spirits renewed and their hearts restored.

But Cedar Key might also be the birthplace of a lie that is poisoning the family from within.

Join the five Claybourne women--Anise, Kimberly, Jayme-Leigh, Heather, and Ami--as they search the past and confront the truth. Their unique paths will lead them through heartbreak, misunderstandings, and pain. But their journeys will also bring reconciliation with each other and the precious renewal of love in their own lives.

In her lyrical, evocative fashion, Eva Marie Everson weaves a tapestry of complicated relationships that, when complete, reveals the most beautiful work of art there is--family.

About the Author

Eva Marie Everson is a successful speaker and the award-winning author of Things Left Unspoken, This Fine Life, and Chasing Sunsets. She is coauthor of the Potluck Club books and the Potluck Catering Club series. She lives in Florida.

Learn more about Eva at her website.

Monday, June 10, 2013

A Quick Glimpse at a Love Story -- Jennifer

Fans of Dee Henderson's O'Malley Series will find Jennifer to be a treat.  This short novella -- which can easily be read in a couple hours or so -- is a sweet love story that gives a short, intimate glimpse at the youngest member of the O'Malley family.  I read the entire series years ago -- my first introduction to Dee Henderson -- and the story encouraged me to go back and re-read them all.

For those of you who haven't yet read the O'Malley series, Jennifer will be a good introduction and whet your appetite for more.  If you dive into Dee's other books, get ready to bump up several notches and hold on tight as she takes you on a suspenseful and thrilling journey into the lives of Jennifer and her siblings.

In spite of the sweet story, I was a little disappointed in this book.  I did not expect it to be as short and light as it was, totally different from the other books in the series.  

Thanks to Bethany House for providing this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

About the Book

It's a summer of change for Jennifer O'Malley.

The busy physician has a pediatrics practice in Dallas, Texas, and meeting and falling in love with surgeon Tom Peterson is adding a rich layer to her life. She's sorting out how to introduce Tom to her family--she's the youngest of seven--and thinking about marriage.

She's falling in love with Jesus too, and knows God is good. But that faith is about to be tested, and in a way she didn't expect. The results will soon transform her entire family.

About the Author

Dee Henderson is the author of eighteen novels, including Jennifer: An O'Malley Love Story, New York Times bestseller Full Disclosure, the acclaimed O'Malley series, and the Uncommon Heroes series. Her books have won or been nominated for several prestigious industry awards, such as the RITA Award, the Christy Award, and the ECPA Gold Medallion. Dee is a lifelong resident of Illinois.

Learn more at

Young Adult Amish Story -- A Simple Song

A Simple Song is a good read for young adults and teens that can also be enjoyed by more "mature" adult Amish fiction fans.  The characters and story line take a contemporary path (one that may be a little out of the norm for most Amish stories) that should appeal particularly to a younger audience.  This could be a good story for introducing younger readers to the genre.

Available June 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Thanks to the publisher for providing this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

About the Book

In her newest young adult novel, bestselling author Melody Carlson takes Katrina Yoder somewhere few Amish teens have been: reality TV.

Katrina Yoder loves to sing, but her Amish parents view singing as vainglory and a sin. Katrina's best friend, Bekka, is convinced Katrina should try out for American Star, a televised singing competition that Bekka has been secretly watching. Katrina resists the temptation until her father's health worsens. He desperately needs a surgery the family cannot afford. Katrina decides she must go against her parents' wishes to win the money needed to help her father. But how will she handle herself as an Amish teenager out in the world?

Teen girls will be swept into the excitement as Katrina ventures out of her quiet Amish world to become a reality television star. Will she be successful? And will she be accepted back into her community when it's over?

About the Author

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books with sales of more than five million. She is the author of several Christmas books from Revell, including the bestselling The Christmas Bus, The Christmas Dog and Christmas at Harrington's, which is being considered for a TV movie. She is also the author of many teen books, including Just Another Girl, Anything but Normal, Double Take, the Life at Kingston High serie, and the Diary of a Teenage Girl series. She is the winner of a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including the Diary of a Teenage Girl series and Finding Alice. Melody and her husband live in Oregon.

For more information about Melody visit her website at     

Loyalty and Redemption -- Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales

Not too long ago I was introduced to Randy Singer's legal thrillers, and I immediately became a fan.  His latest book, Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales, reminds me why I enjoy his stories so much.

The characters are rich and the story has many layers to it.  Forgiveness, redemption, loyalty, integrity -- so many important themes come through in a variety of situations and settings.

Then there are the twists and turns that keep you second guessing.  Just when you think everything is all tied up in a nice neat (maybe not so neat) bundle -- well . . . I certainly wouldn't want to give anything away!  In a list of questions and answers about this book, Randy had this to say:  "My perfect ending is one where the reader says, 'Wow! I didn't see that coming, but I should have.' That's the kind of ending I try to write."  Randy, you did just that in Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales.

I highly recommend Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales to fans of legal thrillers.  You will enjoy a great read with a Christian viewpoint and no worries of objectionable content.

Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the Book

Landon Reed is an ex-quarterback convicted of organizing a points-shaving scheme. During his time in prison, he found forgiveness and faith and earned his law degree. Now he longs for an opportunity to prove his loyalty and worth. Be careful what you ask for.

Harry McNaughton is one of the founding partners of McNaughton & Clay—and the only lawyer willing to take a chance employing an ex-con-turned-lawyer. Though Landon initially questions Harry’s ethics and methods, it’s clear the crusty old lawyer has one of the most brilliant legal minds Landon has ever encountered. The two dive into preparing a defense for one of the highest-profile murder trials Virginia Beach has seen in decades when Harry is gunned down in what appears to be a random mugging. Then two more lawyers are killed when the firm’s private jet crashes. Authorities suspect someone has a vendetta against McNaughton & Clay, leaving Landon and the remaining partner as the final targets.

As Landon struggles to keep the firm together, he can’t help but wonder, is the plot related to a shady case from McNaughton & Clay’s past, or to the murder trial he’s neck-deep in now? And will he survive long enough to find out?

You can read an excerpt from Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales here.

About the Author 

Randy Singer is a critically acclaimed, award-winning author and veteran trial attorney.

He has penned more than 10 legal thrillers and was recently a finalist with John Grisham and Michael Connelly for the inaugural Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction sponsored by the University of Alabama School of Law and the ABA Journal. Randy runs his own law practice and has been named to Virginia Business magazine's select list of "Legal Elite" litigation attorneys. In addition to his law practice and writing, Randy serves as teaching pastor for Trinity Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He calls it his "Jekyll and Hyde thing"—part lawyer, part pastor. He also teaches classes in advocacy and civil litigation at Regent Law School and, through his church, is involved with ministry opportunities in India. He and his wife, Rhonda, live in Virginia Beach. They have two grown children.

Visit his website at

Read some of what Randy has to say about this story and his writing in general here.  He also shares a little more in the following video.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Reconciliation and Romance -- That Certain Summer

After reading Irene Hannon's Heroes of Quantico, Guardians of Justice, and Private Justice series, I was convinced she knows how to craft a story that will grab you from page one and hold you to the very end.  I am a huge fan of her heart-stopping suspense and page-turning intrigue.

Now I am happy to say that she can do exactly the same thing in a completely different genre.  The characters in That Certain Summer engage you in their story right away.  It is easy to feel with them the struggles and the joys they go through in an engaging tale of hope and inspiration.  As hurts and secrets are revealed and dealt with, faith and forgiveness carry Karen, Val, and their family and friends through times of reconciliation, growth, and love.

I highly recommend That Certain Summer and rank it right up beside Irene's other books.  Fans of great Christian fiction will not be disappointed! 

Available June 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Thanks to Revell for providing a copy of this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

About the Book

With her trademark compelling characters and heartwarming hope, celebrated author Irene Hannon offers her readers an inspiring true-to-life tale of complex family relationships, transgressions revealed and forgiven and the complicated process of finding love.

Karen and Val are family–yet they're anything but close. Karen has carried the burden of responsibility for her aging mother ever since her sister left town years ago to pursue a career in theater. But Val had darker reasons for leaving town–and had a secret to keep–so coming home has never been an option . . . until their mother suffers a stroke.

Reunited in their hometown, Karen and Val must grapple with their past mistakes, their own relationship and their issues with a mother who is far from ideal. When a physical therapist raising his daughter alone and a handsome but hurting musician enter the picture, the summer takes on a whole new dimension. As their lives intersect and entwine, can each sister learn how to forgive, how to let go and how to move on? And strengthened by the healing power of faith, might they also find the courage to love?

About the Author

Irene Hannon is the author of more than 35 novels, including the bestselling Heroes of Quantico and Guardians of Justice series. Her books have been honored with two coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, a Carol Award, a HOLT Medallion, a Daphne du Maurier Award and two Reviewers' Choice Awards from RT Book Reviews magazine. Booklist also included one of her novels in its "Top 10 Inspirational Fiction" list for 2011. She lives in Saint Louis, Missouri.

For more information about her and her books, Irene invites you to visit her website at

Here is a link to a short video where Irene shares a little about the story.

Monday, June 3, 2013

A Delightful Love Story -- Stealing the Preacher

Stealing the Preacher is a quick, fun read that could have you alternating between laughing and crying.  This story set in 1885 Texas involves a preacher, outlaws, competing women, and more.  Love, faith, and fun all play important roles.

The characters in this engaging story are people I would love to know.  Joanna has a strong faith -- although she has trouble believing in herself.  Crockett is driven by a passion to preach -- but he finds that God's plans are not what he expected.  (If you have read Karen's Short-Straw Bride -- learn more here -- you will recognize Crockett and the other Archer "boys" from there.)  Jackson is a young boy who just needs a little loving guidance.  And Silas -- well, there's a lot to learn about the man under the tough exterior.

If you're a fan of historical fiction with a Christian view -- or just enjoy a good love story -- I would highly recommend you give Stealing the Preacher a try.  This is only the second book I've read by Karen Witemeyer, and I don't plan on it being the last.

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity Group for providing this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Read what other reviewers have to say about Stealing the Preacher here.

About the Book:

A cowboy who wants to be a preacher. An outlaw's daughter who wants to change his mind.

On his way to interview for a position at a church in the Piney Woods of Texas, Crockett Archer can't believe it when he's forced off the train by an outlaw and presented to the man's daughter as the preacher she requested for her birthday. He's determined to escape--which would be much easier if he could stop thinking about Joanna Robbins and her unexpected request.

For months, Joanna had prayed for a minister. A man to breathe life back into the abandoned church at the heart of her community. A man to assist her in fulfilling a promise to her dying mother. But just when it seems her prayers have been answered, it turns out the parson is there against his will and has dreams of his own calling him elsewhere. Is there any way she can convince Crockett he ended up right where he was supposed to be?

With her signature blend of humor, history, and lively western romance, two-time RITA Award finalist and bestselling author Karen Witemeyer delivers a Texas love story sure to steal your heart.

About the Author:

Two-time RITA finalist and winner of the coveted HOLT Medallion and ACFW Carol Award, CBA bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance because she believes that the world needs more happily-ever-afters. 

She is an avid cross-stitcher, shower singer, and bakes a mean apple cobbler. Karen makes her home in Abilene, Texas, with her husband and three children. 

Learn more about Karen and her books at

Karen Witemeyer is "kindling" the excitement for Stealing the Preacher (Bethany House) with a Kindle Fire Giveaway and connecting with readers at her June 18th Facebook Author Chat Party!

  One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer 
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends at 4pm on June 18th. Winner will be announced at the "Stealing the Preacher" Facebook Author Chat Party on June 18th. Connect with Karen for an evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! Karen will also share an exclusive look at her next book and give away books and other fun prizes throughout the evening.

So grab your copy of Stealing the Preacher and join Karen on the evening of June 18th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 18th!