Under Construction

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Guest Post: It Takes a Village to Create a Book by Author Kevin T. Johns

There’s an old saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.”

The same thing is true about creating and publishing a book.

At the end of October, my latest novel M School, a young adult action thriller with an all-girl cast, will be released. My name will be on the cover, but a plethora of people will have helped make that book a reality.

M School started when John Muldoon (1) of Monthly Experiments urged readers of his blog to spend one-month working on a secret project. The idea was to pick a focused activity, work on it every day for a month, and not tell a soul until the month was over. I chose to write every day as my activity, and by the end of the month the first draft of M School was complete. Without John’s secret project challenge, the book might never have been written.

As I revised the manuscript, I read chapters of the book to my critique group. Fellow authors Caroline Frechette (2), Eric Leveque (3), and S.M. Carriere (4), Aurelia Osborne (5) and Marie-Claude Goulet (5) (6), provided feedback, advice, and support throughout the two years I spend revising the novel.
When I had a draft that I felt was ready for consumption, I sent it out to half a dozen beta readers. Doug Turnball (7), Jen Desmarais (8), Gillian Davis (9), Megan Suntrum (10), and my wife Sarah Johns (11) all provided valuable feedback from a reader perspective.

I then hired author/editor Megan Linski (12) to copy edit the book. You can listen to the interview I did with Megan about the editing process on my podcast, The Writing Coach.

Next, Angela Friskoe (13) of Covered Creativity designed the (bloody) awesome cover for M School.
Diana Lester (14) and Siobhan Maas (15) then proofread the book for me, finding dozens of errors that had managed to slip past my eye.

And now, as I gear up for the book’s release, Arya (16) here at Sea of Pages has been kind enough to allow me to guest post on her blog as a means of promoting the book by sharing my creative experience with you.

As you can see, no less than 16 people have played a major role in helping to make M School a reality, and dozens of others have helped here and there along the way. (If you want to see the culmination of our efforts, get on the M School early notification mailing list today!)

I want you to remember: when the time comes for you to create your book, don’t fall for the myth of the solitary author. No one does it all alone. Get help, like I did, so that your book can be as great as it can be!


Kevin T. Johns is an author, writing coach, and ghostwriter. He helps authors from around the world get ideas out of their heads, onto the page, and into the hands of readers. Grab a free copy of his short guide for authors by clicking the image below.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

New Releases from ACFW!

October 2016 New Releases

 More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website

Biblical Fiction:

  Providence: Hannah's Journey by Barbara M. Britton -- When the prophet of Israel refuses to heal her, Hannah flees Jerusalem and is captured by an enemy with a curse all his own. (Biblical from Harbourlight [Pelican])

  Shadow of the Storm by Connilyn Cossette -- In defiance of her mother, Shira pursues her heart's calling to become an apprentice midwife. When a delivery goes horribly wrong, Shira finds herself bound to a man who betrayed her, the caretaker of three young children, and the target of a vengeful woman whose husband was killed by Shira's people, the Levites. As contention between the Hebrew tribes and the foreigners fans the flames of another dangerous rebellion, Shira will come face-to-face with the heartbreak of her past that she has kept hidden for so long. How can she let go of all that has defined her to accept the love she's denied herself and embrace who she truly is? (Biblical from Bethany House [Baker])

  Christmas Novella:

  Christmas Lights by Chautona Havig, Vikki Kestell, Cathe Swanson, and April Hayman -- From historical romance to contemporary cozy mysteries and Christmas wonder, these four "light" reads will warm your heart and ignite your Christmas spirit! (Christmas Novella, Mixed Genres, Independently Published)

  Contemporary Romance:

  Risking Love by Brenda S. Anderson -- Can cautious bank employee Lissa Morgan risk falling in love with a former thrill-seeker, a widowed single dad, when she may have to foreclose on his house? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

  A Mom for Christmas by Lorraine Beatty -- Noah's dream of a happy family and Beth's dream of a continuing ballet career are both dashed, but when they come together they discover that the Lord might have a new dream for both of them. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

  Sleigh Bells Ring by Sandra D. Bricker, Barbara J. Scott, Lynette Sowell, and Lenora Worth -- Santa Claus is coming to town, and so are the Tucker sisters. The girls have inherited their father's run-down horse farm for Christmas. 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? (Contemporary Romance from Gilead Publishing)

  Do You Hear What I Hear? by Margaret Brownley -- Stranded at the old Star Inn until the road back to his cabin reopens, lumber mill owner Rick Talbot suddenly comes face to face with the past. The only woman he's ever loved is standing in front of the inn's blazing fire trying to get warm. Both Rick and Sally regret what happened between them years ago, but his family lumberyard clashes with her tree-hugging ways and neither is willing to try again. It will take the storm of the century, one stage-struck young boy, a certain meddling "angel"--and even a cranky cat--to convince them that in matters of the heart, sometimes the second time around is best. (Contemporary Romance from St. Martin Press)

  More Than a Tiara by Valerie Comer -- Marisa Hiller abandoned her modeling career to nurse a broken heart in Montana, far from the photographer who ruined everything. Her family farm is now part of a CSA program teaching gardening and cooking to single moms, but when the coordinator begs her to represent the program in the Miss Snowflake Pageant, Marisa balks. God has forgiven Jase Mackie but hasn't answered his prayer to bring Marisa back into his life… until Jase finds himself out West as the official photographer for a beauty pageant, face to face with the woman he's never forgotten. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

  Room at the Inn for Christmas by Mary Connealy -- Ambitious hotel executive Amanda Star's has got her sights set on the CEO job at the multi-national Halston hotel chain. But then she inherits the Star Inn, a place her father had always wanted her to run alongside him. With no time to be away from her job, she rushes home to put the inn up for sale. Once there, she's struggles against keen regret, sweet memories, and the longing to return, which grows stronger when she is reunited with an old classmate: Anthony Carter, a handyman with a guarded heart. (Contemporary Romance from St. Martin Press)

  Can't Help Falling by Kara Isaac -- A funny, heartfelt romance about how an antique shop, a wardrobe, and a mysterious tea cup bring two C.S. Lewis fans together in a snowy and picturesque Oxford, England. (Contemporary Romance from Howard [Simon & Schuster])

  A Christmas Homecoming by Kimberly Rose Johnson -- Interior design assistant Bailey Calderwood suspects the mysterious admirer sending her cards and flowers is none other than the son of her unpleasable, bed-ridden boss. When Stephen Belafonte's mom demands he fire Bailey, can he find a way to heal the rift in his family as well his own heart, or will he be forced to let Bailey go? (Contemporary Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)

  Where Two Hearts Meet by Liz Johnson -- When Caden Holt's boss asks her to show off their own beautiful Prince Edward Island to impress a visiting travel writer and save the Red Door Inn, the reclusive executive chef is forced to face a world much bigger than her kitchen--and a man who makes her wish she was beautiful. (Contemporary Romance from Revell [A Division of Baker Publishing Group])

  Trust My Heart by Carol J. Post -- Grant McAllister, a jaded big-city lawyer and small-town reporter Jami Carlisle have no hope for finding true love--except for a zany old matchmaker who won't give up. In the unspoiled beauty of the Smoky Mountains, there's healing and forgiveness to be found. And for Grant, this unplanned detour may be just what's needed to finally guide him home. (Contemporary Romance from Waterfall Press)

  Insight by Deborah Raney -- She's having a baby. It's a blessing that brings comfort to newly widowed Olivia Cline. Yet with no insurance, no job and precious little money, how will Olivia care for herself and her child? The answer is a handsome and brooding artist seeking an assistant. Reed Vincent has recently regained his eyesight thanks to a donor. And through his eyes, Olivia begins to see all the possibilities before her. Before them. Until, in a flash of insight, she knows why his signature is so hauntingly familiar. (Contemporary Romance from Raney Day Press)

  Silver Bells by Deborah Raney -- As Elvis croons from the radio and Christmas descends upon a small Kansas town, two people find the miracle of love. (Contemporary Romance from Raney Day Press)

  A Family Under the Christmas Tree by Terri Reed -- In this heartwarming tale set during the Christmas season, a single father and a fashion photographer are brought together by a young boy and a mischievous Bernese mountain dog--but first they must learn to set aside their differences if they are willing to let their relationship bloom. (Contemporary Romance from Howard [Simon & Schuster])

  Third Strand of the Cord by Catherine Richmond -- Caroline will do anything to keep her ex-husband from putting her son with Down syndrome in an institution--even enroll the boy in a class taught by a know-it-all karate instructor. Lee Marivaux is an expert at reading people. He knows his feisty new student will thrive with firm guidance - and he's right. He pegs the boy's mother as a clueless socialite who loafs at the country club - and he's never been so wrong. When Caroline's abusive ex shows up, demanding custody, Lee and Caroline must join forces to keep the boy safe. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

  Buying Love by Toni Shiloh -- Impatient for marriage, Nina Warrenton places an ad in the newspaper for a husband--attaching a monetary reward. But when she begins to fall for the small-town chef who answers her add, she realizes how much she wants him to love her and not her money. Dwight Williams needs fast cash to save the family restaurant, but can he let it go to prove his love for Nina? (Contemporary Romance from Celebrate Lit)

  Moonlight Over Manahttan by Carrie Turansky -- Professional organizer Sarah Montgomery is hired to organize her elderly neighbor's cluttered apartment by Justin Latimer, her neighbor's grandson. Sarah believes free-spirited Justin is a lazy, unemployed poet who is taking advantage of his grandmother's generosity. Though attracted to him, she guards her heart against her growing feelings. As Sarah and Justin work together to help his grandmother and enjoy Christmas events in NYC, romantic sparks fly. When Sarah discovers who Justin really is, she must decide if she will continue to hide behind her protective wall or open her heart and embrace love. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

  Love Bears All Things by Beth Wiseman -- Charlotte Dolinsky needs time to recover after breaking up with her boyfriend, Ryan. But when a surprise visitor shows up on her doorstep in Texas, she's forced to put aside her own worries to help her Amish friends in Lancaster County. Daniel Byler struggles each day in his Amish community to heal from his fiancĂ©e's betrayal. When he discovers that a member of his family is in danger of being shunned, his pain turns to fear. His only way to help is by partnering with Charlotte, a woman he barely knows who has already deceived them all before. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

  General Contemporary (includes Women's Fiction):

  Paint The Storm by Dawn V. Cahill -- When Meg is challenged to love her lesbian daughter as Christ would, she struggles to live out God's command, and when her daughter goes missing, she finds herself joined with the unlikeliest of allies in her search for Linzee, and finally learns of God's unconditional grace for sinners. (Contemporary Women's Fiction from Spring Mountain Publishing)

  Restoration Road by Elise Phillips -- Mallory Andrews's short trip back to Texas for her mother's funeral quickly becomes a move home to help her grieving father with his contracting business. When her old crush, Tres, hires them for a restoration project Mallory falls in love with the crumbling old house. And when feelings bloom between her and Tres, she finds herself on the road to a brand new, unexpected life filled with faith, sweet tea, and fresh paint. (General Contemporary from Desert Breeze Publishing)

  Above All Things by Deborah Raney -- Expecting their first baby, Judd and Evette McGlin are thrilled to become parents. But the couple faces the ultimate test when Judd learns he already has a child: a six-year-old mixed-race girl born amid secrets and lies. Now, Evette must decide if she can accept the child. She thought she was open-minded--until hidden prejudices threaten the future of an innocent little girl, Evette's marriage and the very notion of who she thinks she is. (Contemporary Women's Fiction from Raney Day Press)

  Restoring Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti -- Alexis set out to restore a fieldstone farmhouse in need of repair. She didn't expect to restore a life in the process. (General Contemporary from Worthy Inspired)

  Strings of Faith by Terry Stafford -- Darcy is a classically trained violinist who dreams of playing bluegrass and winning The National Oldtime Fiddle Contest in Weiser, Idaho. When tragedy strikes, Darcy lays her gift aside for her family and faces unimaginable pain and loss, leading to dissension with her husband, disappointing judgment from her church, and anger with God Himself. Can her gift of music survive when her life is turned upside down? (General Contemporary, Independently Published)


  The Lost Generation by Erica Marie Hogan -- On August 5th 1914, the world changed forever. For John and Beth Young, it meant the happiness they finally achieved was snatched out from under them. For Emma Cote, it meant that her husband Jared would do his duty, despite her feelings. For Christy Simmons it meant an uncertain future with the boy she loved. The lives of six people, spread across the British Empire to America were changed forever. (Historical from Elk Lake Publishing Inc.)

  Aboard Providence by Keely Brooke Keith -- When an accident forces Jonah Ashton to serve as a ship's physician, he boards the Providence with the plan to escort a group of families to their new settlement in South America and then return to Pennsylvania to finish medical school before rumors of Southern rebellion erupt into all-out war. What he doesn't count on is getting lost at sea... and Marian Foster. When the settlers finally reach land, Jonah makes a startling discovery that changes everything, but will it change his heart? (Historical from Crossriver Media Group)

  Historical Romance:

  The Rails to Love Romance Collection by Diana Lesire Brandmeyer, Amanda Cabot, Lisa Carter, Ramona K. Cecil, Lynn A. Coleman, Susanne Dietze, Kim Vogel Sawyer, Connie Stevens, and Liz Tolsma -- Journey the Transcontinental Railroad along with nine unlikely couples who encounter all the dangers and disappointments of traveling the rails in the late 1800s. From sight-seeing excursions to transports toward new lives, from orphan trains to circus trains, can romances develop into blazing love in a world of cold, hard steel? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

  Cowboy Christmas Homecoming by Mary Connealy, Ruth Logan Herne, Julie Lessman, and Anna Schmidt -- For widow June Harper, another cold front is about to hit. Most call him Hugh. She'd call him Scrooge, except as the man ensures her needs are met, June can't help but wonder how to meet the needs of his heart. Netty Lewis can take care of herself, has for a while now. And even if Roy, her hired help for the holidays, does take care of her, that doesn't mean he cares for her or that he'll stay past Christmas. Pastor Colton McCabe is not sure he'll make it through the holidays with his new housekeeper. Grace can't seem to do anything right but love. Perhaps being a homekeeper will earn her a permanent residence in his heart. Connie Lancaster is determined to return to St. Louis, and no cowboy can change her mind. But if Isaac can change her heart, maybe Connie will see the homecoming she's been longing for isn't to a place but a person. (Historical Romance from Gilead Publishing)

  The Captive Heart by Michelle Griep -- Stranded in a strange land, Eleanor Morgan faces starvation or marriage . . . but who wants to marry a murderer? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

  The Rightful Heir by Angel Moore -- Cowboy Jared Ivy must work with stranger Mary Lou Ellison until a judge comes to town and determines which one of them is the rightful heir to his family's Texas newspaper. Intrepid reporter Mary Lou won't lose the Pine Haven Record--the legacy he left her--without a fight. But when she and Jared stop sparring long enough to investigate a story together, they become a force to be reckoned with. Will they let their battle over the Record get in the way of something even more newsworthy: true love? (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

  Christmas at Stoney Creek by Martha Rogers -- When newspaper reporter Tom Whiteman befriends a homeless man named Joe, Tom decides to bring him home to Stoney Creek, Texas for Christmas. As Tom and his childhood friend Faith Delmont set out to learn the truth about the mysterious old man with the kind, sad eyes, they discover that God's love can turn tragedy and loss to triumph, and that true love comes to those who wait. (Historical Romance from Realms [Charisma Media])


Another Day, Another Dali by Sandra Orchard -- In order to regain her grandmother's favor FBI Special Agent Serena Jones agrees to investigate a missing Salvador Dali painting. But when the evidence points to members of the owner's own household, it becomes clear that Serena won't be winning any popularity contests. Then Serena stumbles upon links to her grandfather's unsolved murder. (Mystery from Revell [A Division of Baker Publishing Group])

  Romantic Suspense:

Tangled Webs by Irene Hannon -- After a disastrous Middle East mission ends his six-year Army Ranger career, Finn McGregor needs some downtime in the woods. But when someone threatens his neighbor, publishing executive Dana Lewis, Finn and Dana must work together to discover who wants her to leave her lakeside cabin before it costs both their lives. (Romantic Suspense from Revell [A Division of Baker Publishing Group])

  Identity Unknown by Terri Reed -- When a John Doe washes up on the shores of Calico Bay, no one knows who he is—including him. But one thing's instantly clear to deputy sheriff Audrey Martin: the man's marked for murder. And she's the only one who can protect him from the assassins who lurk at every turn. The arrival of a team of men claiming he's Canadian Border Services officer Nathanial Longhorn only further complicates the matter. As his memories slowly start drifting back, Nathanial and Audrey work to uncover who wants him dead and why. If they don't, this Christmas might be their last. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


  A Time to Rise by Nadine Brandes -- What more can you sacrifice than your life? Parvin Blackwater is dead. At least that's what the Council and the world thinks. But her sacrifice tore down part of the Wall long enough to stir up hope and rebellion in the people. Parvin and Solomon must uncover the mysterious clues that Jude left behind in order to destroy the projected Wall once and for all. Meanwhile, the Council schemes to new levels of technology in its attempts to keep the people contained. Can a one-handed Radical and a scarred ex-Enforcer really bring shalom to the world? (Speculative Young Adult from Enclave Publishing)

  Unblemished by Sara Ella -- Eliyana can't bear to look at her own reflection. But what if that were only one Reflection—one world? What if another world exists where her blemish could become her strength? (Speculative Young Adult from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

  Beast by Chawna Schroeder -- For as long as Beast can remember, she has lived among her master's dogs. With them she sleeps. With them she eats. With them she fights and struggles to survive. But through hunger and cold she dreams of one day becoming her master's favorite, earning bones with meat and a place beside the fire. When her pack scatters after a surprise raid, Beast must defend herself against slavers, hunting down the loners. They are so strong, and she is only a beast . . . or is she? (Speculative Allegory from Enclave Publishing)

  Accelerant by Ronie Kendig -- He'll destroy the world. But he must save it first. As the only able-bodied heir to the Fire Throne, Haegan, Prince of Seultrie must return to the Nine Kingdoms and fight for his people. But there are insidious forces at work. When reality itself falls into question, Haegan struggles to know where to fight, who to trust. Caught between duty to his country and duty to the world, Haegan must see clearly enough to choose the right path to save his devastated world. (Speculative High Fantasy from Enclave Publishing)


Death in the Mind's Eye by Rick Acker -- It knows what you're thinking. It knows when you're lying. Does it know how to kill? San Francisco attorney Mike Webster and Dr. Johanna Anderson, a brilliant and beautiful psychologist, must clear Jo's name of a malpractice case before the controversial, technologically-assisted Mind's Eye therapy is seized by a shadowy finance firm and used as a weapon. (Thriller/Suspense from Waterfall Press)

  The Warrior's Seal by Ronie Kendig -- A Special Forces team is thrust into a war with the past to save the president after an artifact unleashes a deadly toxin. Special Forces operative Cole "Tox" Russell and his team are tasked in a search-and-rescue--the U.S. president has been kidnapped during a goodwill tour. The mission nosedives when an ancient biblical artifact and a deadly toxin wipe out villages. Tox must stop the terrorists and the toxin to save the president. This is a free e-novella prequel! (Thriller/Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])

  Deadly Infiltration by W. Richard Lawrence -- Infiltrators inside the American government are betraying undercover agents while helping sneak weapons of mass destruction across our borders. To keep their work hidden, they are willing to murder anyone who gets in their way. Sara, a brilliant computer expert working for the FBI, finds herself caught in the middle. Sara's young faith in God is gravely tested when she is framed for the murder of an FBI agent, forcing her to go into hiding. Meanwhile, Sara's fiancĂ© Derry lives up to a promise he made to her, and gives up his future to save her and hopefully the country. (Thriller/Suspense from Boarding House Publishing)

  Western Historical:

  Refining Fire by Carol Cox -- Meet the Arizona Territory Brides. Four strong, independent women--each determined to stand on her own two feet, and not one of them looking for romance. But sometimes love shows up when you least expect it... (Western, Pioneer/Prairie, Independently Published)

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Where Hope Prevails

Waiting on Wednesday is  a weekly event hosted by The Breaking Spine to highlight the upcoming books we're dying to read.

This week, I'd like to point you in the direction of the Return to the Canadian West trilogy by Janette Oke and her daughter Laurel Oke Logan. The story is meant to be a companion (though it's really a totally different story, just similar characters/setting) to the Hallmark television series When Calls the Heart which was actually loosely based on Oke's book by the same name.

I love Janette Oke and I love this series! I think this will be the first one of her book that I will have been waiting on for publication. Many of the ones I read as a kid came out in the 80's--before I was born.

So this is very exciting.

The next book, Where Hope Prevails, will be released on August 2, 2016. Unless you get it on Kindle, which will be about a month sooner. I MAY JUST BE TEMPTED.

Inspiring Conclusion to a Popular Series with a TV tie-in

When Beth Thatcher returns to Coal Valley, she has much to be excited about. She anticipates Jarrick's proposal of marriage and perhaps a spring wedding. The mine is expanding, and there are more schoolchildren than ever.

But the town's rapid growth brings many challenges. A second teacher is assigned, and Beth finds herself going head-to-head with a very different philosophy of education--one that dismisses religion and rejects God. Fearful for the children who sit under the influence of Robert Harris Hughes, Beth struggles to know how to respond.

At the same time, Beth wonders if Jarrick is considering a position at her father's company simply for her sake. Should she admit her feelings on the matter? Or keep silent and allow Jarrick to make up his own mind?

  *To pre-order Where Hope Prevails by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan, please click here.
*Contains an Amazon Affiliates Link

You might also like...

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A Most Inconvenient Marriage by Regina Jennings

A Most Inconvenient Marriage by Regina Jennings 5 of 5 stars.


With few options of her own, nurse Abigail Stuart agrees to marry her patient, a gravely wounded soldier calling himself Jeremiah Calhoun. They arrange a quick ceremony before he dies, giving Abigail the rights to his Ozark farm and giving Jeremiah the peace of knowing someone will care for his ailing sister after he's gone--a practical solution for both of them.

After the war, Abigail fulfills her side of the bargain--until the real Jeremiah Calhoun shows up, injured but definitely alive, and wastes no time in challenging Abigail's story. Abigail is flummoxed. After months of claiming to be his widow, how can she explain that she's never seen this Jeremiah Calhoun before? How can she convince him that she isn't trying to steal his farm? And will she find a way to stay, even though this practical arrangement has turned into a most inconvenient marriage? (Book blurb)

Newlywed Abigail Calhoun heads South into the wild Ozark mountains following the death of the jovial Confederate soldier, Jeremiah Calhoun, she married in a Union hospital. The young man generously offered Abigail a home and a family--something he couldn't possibly have known she needed so badly--in exchange for her nursing his sickly sister. Everything seems to be working out fine, until the real Captain Jeremiah Calhoun shows up and challenges her. 

The real captain is serious, controlling and steadfastly goal-oriented, and the temptingly beautiful woman claiming to be his widow is dead-set on getting in the way of the very goals that have carried him through the war, the most important being his determination to marry his sweetheart. Only Abigail isn't the only obstacle. His Laurel has become engaged to another man. What's more, his sister, Rachel, is angry and bitter, having let her resentment toward Jeremiah fester over the four years that he's been gone.

Abigail and Jeremiah must search for their own peace and happiness whilst protecting "their" farm from the bushwackers and thieves that seem to be the Ozarks' only remuneration from the war. Will Abigail be able to overcome the painful secrets of her past and find a home with this frustratingly hard-headed man and his family? Will Rachel be able to find forgiveness? Will Jeremiah win back his love? 

A Most Inconvenient Marriage is a brave, fast-paced story told from the perspectives of two strong, enigmatic characters that compliment each other beautifully. The romance is tension rich and uncertain, leaving the reader gasping and unsure what outcome to wish for the characters. The writing is full of depth and description that propels the tale along at a pleasant pace while keeping the reader immersed in the setting and time period from beginning to end.

I adore the way this novel is set up. It is told in third person with the point of view switching easily between Abigail and Jeremiah. The more dominant perspective in the beginning is Abigail's which maintains the mystery surrounding Jeremiah. When he steps onto the scene, we get more from his point of view which is hilariously different than Abigail's. There is a definite masculine feel to his parts that contrasts Abigail's more feminine perspective. Still, they compliment each other, making the ensuing romance delicious in a crossed wires sort of way. They're both willful and fully developed characters. I loved them both so much by the end!

The other character are just as interesting. They all have their own unique internal conflicts and goals. It adds to the beauty and richness of the novel as a whole. Jennings is obviously a masterful author when it comes to creating realistic characters and authentic settings. 

I would suggest this book for anyone who loves a good strong heroine or a nice historical romance. The elements of faith that are woven throughout the book are subtle but still meaningful for Christian readers.

*To order A Most Inconvenient Marriage by Regina Jenning from Amazon.com, please click here.

You might also like...

*This post contains an Amazon Affiliates link.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Searching Heart by Janette Oke

A Searching Heart by Janette Oke 5 of 5 stars.
Book 2 of Prairie Legacy

The Yearning Deep Inside Her—to Go Somewhere, Discover Something, Be a Part of the World About Her in a New Way—Would Not Go Away. But What Would Satisfy It?

In The Tender Years, Virginia Simpson managed to struggle through adolescence and was looking forward to stepping into adulthood. When her graduation day arrives, she walks to the podium as the class valedictorian to the proud grins of her grandparents, Marty and Clark Davis. College beckoned, and life seemed to be well in hand.

She thought she would feel different. Like an adult, with an inner knowledge that she was on the edge of the nest, ready to try her own wings. And then circumstances began swirling around her, making her rethink her plans and reevaluate her priorities. (Book blurb)

Virginia Simpson is ready to graduate high school and join her boyfriend in the exciting world of college. The mature, capable young woman having just graduated as valedictorian, is ready to take her place in the world of adulthood. However, that very maturity keeps her at home—first one semester then another. 

While Virginia works to help her family during their time of need, she must also help her wayward friend Jenny when her carefree, life’s-a-party ways get her in trouble. Not only that, she must try to keep her boyfriend Jamison tethered when she fears he is straying from his faith and losing his way. 

Before Virginia is able to become her own woman, she must learn what is within her control and what is only within God’s. 

A Searching Heart is a gentle, thoughtful novel that perfectly captures the feelings of a young woman stuck between the situation of childhood and the wide-open world of adulthood—when she’s already crossed the threshold of womanhood in both mind and body. As usual, Janette Oke masterfully portrays the feminine heart in all of it’s depth and nuance. I was sucked in by Virginia’s story because I understood it. I recognized her longing for action and independence while being tied down to self-imposed responsibilities. I laughed and cried for her throughout her journey, and I rejoiced when the novel ended on an incredibly hopeful, sweet note. 

I would suggest this novel especially for any woman between the ages of 17-25, though I believe it would touch the hearts of both younger and older women as well. Janette Oke astounds me with how well she manages to capture what it means to be a woman (especially a Christian woman) in so many different chapters of life and situations. She certainly did not disappoint in A Searching Heart

*To order A Searching Heart from amazon.com, please click here.

You might also like...

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Where Trust Lies by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan

Where Trust Lies by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan 5 of 5 stars.

She loves her friends and students in the West, but family obligations have called her home. Where does she truly belong?

After a year of teaching in the Canadian West, Beth Thatcher returns home to her family. She barely has time to settle in before her mother announces plans for a family holiday--a luxurious steamship tour along the eastern coast of Canada and the United States. Hoping to reconnect with her mother and her sisters, Beth agrees to join them, but she quickly realizes that things have changed since she went away, and renewing their close bond is going to be more challenging than she expected.

There's one special thing to look forward to--letters and telephone calls from Jarrick, the Mountie who has stolen her heart. The distance between them is almost too much to bear. But can she give her heart to Jarrick when it will mean saying goodbye to her family once again--and possibly forever? And will she still want to live in the western wilds after the steamship tour opens up a world of people and places she never imagined?

Then comes a great test of Beth's faith. Someone in her family has trusted the wrong person, and suddenly everything Beth knows and loves is toppled. Torn between her family and her dreams, will Beth finally discover where her heart truly belongs? (Book blurb)

In Where Trust Lies the strength and courage of our Beth Thatcher is put to the test on a family vacation that turns out to be anything but relaxing.

Beth must wrestle with her mother's sometimes pushy opinions about all of her life choices--including Jarrick, who stays in contact with Beth throughout her time back home and on the trip. Not only that, but Beth must also try and be responsible of Julie when her sister begins running wild with unknown people of a lower-class on the cruise ship.

By the time Beth has finally gotten a grip on her emotions where her mother is concerned and possibly learned a great deal about her, the trip takes a tragic turn.  Beth must keep faith when all of her hopes and dreams come crashing down around her.

Where Trust Lies is a beautiful, heartfelt story of life, family, and expectations when those things are in total disaccord. This story is every bit as exciting, romantic, and well-paced as Where Courage Calls. The characters are lush and vivid, reminiscent of the tv presences they are based on, but still with their own uniqueness and more emphasis on their God-centered lives.

Beth's difficult relationship with her mother is one of the focal points of the book, and it is fleshed out very well, creating most of the tension. The maturing of Beth's attitude towards her mother is heartwarming-even when her mother's strong opinions begin to cause Beth to question her faith in Jarrick and the good work she's been doing in the West.

Overall, a fantastic read! Exciting, funny, and as un-put-down-able as anything Janette Oke has ever written. It should be satisfying for fans of the author as well as the Hallmark television show.

To read my review of Book 1 in the Return to the Canadian West series, click here.
*To order Where Trust Lies by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan from Amazon.com, click here.

Season 3 of When Calls the Heart premiers February 21 on Hallmark Channel!

This post contains an affiliate link for Amazon.com.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Where Courage Calls by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan

Where Courage Calls by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan 5 of 5 stars.

A special companion story to Hallmark Channel's When Calls the Heart TV series.

Her courage and her heart will be tested in ways she never expected. . . 

Beth Thatcher has spent her entire life in the safe, comfortable world of her family, her friends, and the social outings her father's wealth provides. But Beth is about to leave it all behind to accept a teaching position in the rugged foothills of western Canada. Inspired by her aunt Elizabeth, who went west to teach school several years ago, and gently encouraged by her father, Beth resolves to put her trust in God and bravely face any challenge that comes her way.

But the conditions in Coal Valley are even worse than she'd feared. A recent mining accident has left the town grieving and at the mercy of the mining company. The children have had very little prior education, and many of the locals don't even speak English. There isn't even a proper schoolhouse. In addition, Beth's heart is torn between two young men--both Mounties, one a lifelong friend and the other a kind, quiet man who comes to her aid more than once. 

Despite the many challenges, Beth is determined to make a difference in the rustic frontier town. But when her sister visits from the East, reminding her of all the luxuries she's had to give up, will Beth decide to return to her privileged life as soon as the school year is over? 

Elizabeth Thatcher has been small and prone to sickness all her life. In a day where women are seen as being weak already, Beth's constitution could prove an insurmountable challenge to her independence. Especially if her mother has anything to say about it. But like her Aunt Elizabeth before her, Beth feels called by God to teach in the wild Canadian west amongst poor immigrants.

With her father's blessing and a verse of Gospel, Beth goes out in faith knowing that the journey as well as the life she will be leading in the poor mining town of Coal Valley will prove physically difficult.

Leaning on Christ's strength, Beth learns who she is and makes an amazing impact on the tragedy-stricken town.

Where Courage Calls by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan is a beautiful story of faith from the beginning to the end. Beth Thatcher has enough faith to leave her comfortable city home and travel west to do God's work of educating the children of a poor mining town, but more than that, she has the courage to continue knowing that she will have to depend on Christ's strength to carry her through more so than her own.

I have loved Janette Oke for as long as I can remember. She was the first author I came to love as a child following my Laura Ingalls Wilder obsession. I devoured the Love Comes Softly series back then and in recent years I've come to adore the Canadian West books. So, you can imagine how excited I was when Hallmark released their When Calls the Heart television series. While I love the show, it is an entirely different story than what is in the books, so I was thrilled to hear that Oke would be writing a companion with her daughter.

As a companion to the show, the book is fantastic. You'll recognize many of the characters, but they will still surprise you. The story line has the same feel as that of the show, but is, never-the-less, much different. I have to say, I prefer the way the romance is presented in Where Courage Calls better than the way it is in the television show. It's more of a slow build and there is a lot more emphasis in this book on the aspects of faith in Beth's story.

Overall, I greatly enjoyed this book for it's own sake aside from that of the show. It is richly written in that way Oke has always had of making characters jump off of the page. I could scarcely put it down, cheering for our heroine the entire time. The mystery and intrigue that surrounds the mining town is sure to be pleasant surprise to all, as is Beth's courageous journey.

*To order Where Courage Calls by Jannette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan, click here.

Don't miss out on the holiday special of When Calls the Heart December 26!

Contains an Amazon.com affiliate link.

09 10