Monday, September 4, 2017

September 2017 Fiction Releases #ACFW

September 2017 New Releases

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

Contemporary Romance:


Planting Hope by Brenda S. Anderson -- Jess Beaumont is trying to get her separated parents together again by restoring the family cabin gardens that helped them fall in love. Luke Harrison inherited his Gran’s candy store, but would rather have a Vice President position in his family’s land development business—a sure sign of his father’s approval. To get the promotion, he must acquire the land on both sides of his store within five months, including the Beaumont cabin. As Luke gets to know Jess, he realizes buying the Beaumont cabin and land will nip their blossoming romance in the bud. Even worse, it could end her parents’ marriage. But if he doesn’t succeed, he could be trading his corner office for the candy store counter…for good. Is their romance doomed? Or could the classic combination of chocolate and flowers solve everything? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)



An Amish Christmas Love by Amy Clipston, Kelly Irvin, Ruth Reid, and Beth Wiseman -- Fall in love this Christmas to the gentle pace of Amish courtship. In Winter Kisses by Beth Wiseman, six lonely hearts find healing in the Stoltzfus homestead basement while waiting out a Christmas Eve storm. In The Christmas Cat by Amy Clipston, a group of young people and a forbidden house cat bring reminders of love and hope to a grieving widow at Christmas. In Snow Angels by Kelly Irvin, A young woman’s prayer for a Christmas proposal is delayed by the appearance of her potential groom’s first love, whom me met on his rumspringa. In Home for Christmas by Ruth Reid, an Englisch woman thinks she’s breaking into the house her aenti left to her, only to discover she’s trespassing upon an Amish widower and his young daughter, whose quiet way of life tempts her to stay. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)



Magnolia Storms by Janet W. Ferguson --Maggie Marovich lost her father to Hurricane Katrina, so she’s dedicated her life to meteorology and plans never to return to the Mississippi Coast or the ship pilot she once loved—until a family crisis sends her running headlong into a storm. (Contemporary, Independently Published)



The Christmas Admirer by Laura V. Hilton -- Susanna’s left with three options: one, go with Daed to his new home with a new mom; two, stay in Jamesport, Missouri, as an old maid; or, three, the best yet, flush out her mysterious secret admirer. But how could she be with anyone else when her heart is still with Benaiah? (Contemporary Romance from Whitaker House)



Finding Love in Friday Harbor, Washington by Annette Irby -- Professor Mikaela Rhoades has a plan: she’ll encourage her students’ marine biology research through an exclusive program while helping an old family friend’s whale touring business stay afloat. The challenge is the tour captain is her first love and ex-fiancĂ©. Mikaela longs to help his family in the wake of his father’s death, but she’s keeping secrets. Captain Hunter Cahill has taken over the family touring business after his father’s death. Unfortunately, he’s drowning in grief and accumulated debt. To make matters more difficult, he’d promised his father to pursue Mikaela if she ever returned to the island single. But what will it cost him to spend the summer romancing Mikaela? (Contemporary Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)



Returning Home by Toni Shiloh -- Jo Ellen Baker is shocked to find out that the boy who teased her mercilessly throughout high school, has returned to their hometown of Freedom Lake, and he’s missing a leg. When his mother asks her to renovate their carriage house to give him a place to gain his independence back, she wants to say no. But one look at him brings a rush of forgotten feelings. Evan Carter can’t believe he has to return home and live with his parents. Every hope and dream he ever had dissipated in a car crash that cost him his leg. Stuck in a wheelchair, he’s forced to reexamine his relationship with God and the local carpenter, Jo Ellen Baker. Will renovating his home open the door for a mended relationship, or are some wounds too deep to heal from? (Contemporary, Independently Published)




All This Time by Melissa Tagg -- Ten years ago, Bear McKinley gave up everything—his freedom and his reputation—for his mess of a family. But after years of distance and too many attempts at starting over, he finally has a new life doing noble work in Brazil . . . until his past catches up to him. Raegan Walker is happy working a slew of part-time jobs, still living in her childhood bedroom and rarely venturing from her hometown. At least, that’s what she tells everyone . . . and herself. But she can’t help wondering what might’ve happened if she hadn’t abandoned her art so many years ago—and if Bear McKinley had never left. When Bear returns and she’s commissioned for a painting that just might revive her artistic ambition all in one week, it’s time to finally reach for more. But doing so means facing the fears that have held her back all this time, including admitting the secret she’s kept from Bear and her family. With her dream and her heart on the line, how much will Raegan have to risk to finally chase her happy ending? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)




Home All Along by Beth Wiseman -- Charlotte has made a home for herself in Amish Country with Daniel. But unforeseen events rock their fragile world and may move them even further away from the life they long for. Charlotte, an Englisher, is living in Amish Country, and fallen in love with an Amish man. But just when she is considering a permanent conversion to the Amish way of life, her world crashes around her. An unexpected death and a mysterious visitor unsettle Charlotte, and she begins to question her faith and her choices. Will Charlotte and Daniel’s relationship succumb to the many pressures around them, or will their faith and community help them become strong enough to build a life together? (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

General Contemporary:


Mercy Triumphs by Jana Kelley -- Mia, an American Christian, has lived in Sudan so long that persecution, harassment, and danger have become commonplace for her. Her tough outer shell threatens to harden her heart while her newly Christian friends, Halimah and Rania, former Muslims, are forced to live in exile outside Sudan. All three quickly discover that escaping danger in one place only means facing even greater challenges elsewhere. As God’s mercy becomes evident in their lives, they must choose whether or not to offer mercy to those who don’t deserve it. Based on real-life events, Mercy Triumphs reveals some of the struggles Christians face when living under Islamic law. (General from New Hope Publishers)



Life in Chapel Springs by Ane Mulligan -- Is it a midlife pregnancy or ... cancer? Claire will keep her secret until she’s sure but it isn’t easy. Neither is trying to buy a home pregnancy test without anyone finding out. Between her twins double wedding, the caterer cancelling, a looming nationwide art tour and her health, Claire s life is upside down. Meanwhile, shy Lacey Dawson faces the emotional effects of traumatic injuries requiring facial reconstruction, and rumors of gold in Chapel Springs have greedy investors clamoring to buy all the homes in town and mine the gold. Will life in Chapel Springs ever be the same? (General from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Historical:


A Conspiracy of Breath by Latayne C. Scott -- What would it have been like to be a woman, a Gentile, and someone onto whom the Holy Breath moved - to produce what became the mysterious Epistle to the Hebrews in the Bible? (Historical from TSU Press [Trinity Southwest University])



Queen of Sheba by Jill Eileen Smith -- King Solomon meets his equal in the Queen of Sheba and does his best to give her everything she seeks to find, but will he be able to give her the deepest longing of her heart? (Historical from Revell - A Division of Baker Publishing)
Historical Romance:


These Healing Hills by Ann H. Gabhart -- When life takes an unexpected turn, Francine Howard finds work in the mountains as a midwife where healing and love await her. (Historical Romance from Revell - A Division of Baker Publishing)



12 Days at Bleakly Manor by Michelle Griep -- Clara Chapman receives an intriguing invitation and is promised a sum of five hundred pounds if she will remain a guest at Bleakly Manor for the duration of a twelve-day Christmas celebration. Then she learns Benjamin Lane, who left her at the altar, is also in attendance. Imprisoned unjustly, Ben wants revenge on whomever stole his honor. Torn between money, revenge, and love, will Clara and Ben last the full twelve days at Bleakly Manor and learn what matters most at Christmas? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Mystery:


When the Bishop Needs and Alibi by Vannetta Chapman -- Amish bishop Henry Lapp eagerly awaits the annual arrival of 20,000 sandhill cranes to the San Luis Valley of Colorado. But his visit to the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge reveals more than just a miracle of God's creation. Hidden among the bulrushes and cattails is the deceased body of a young woman. As the local authorities attempt to unravel the mystery, Henry feels God's calling to use his extraordinary talent to aid in the investigation. His ability to draw from memory in photographic detail could help solve this puzzling case. Henry's closest friend, Emma Fisher, has always urged him to embrace his gift. As their relationship deepens, Henry realizes his involvement could put him and those he loves in the direct path of a killer, one who is willing to do anything to cover up a brutal crime, including framing the bishop. (Mystery from Harvest House)



The House Next Door by Susan Page Davis -- As Jennifer’s due date approaches, Harvey decides to invest in real estate, unaware of the terror this will cause his family. A hidden cupboard isn’t so bad—in fact, it’s almost fun to try to solve the little mystery inside it. But will any of their loved ones want to live next door after they learn what’s in the basement? (Mystery, Independently Published)



Solve by Christmas by Amber Schamel -- Detective Jasper Hollock thought he wanted nothing more than a real case. But when the man who raised him stands on the brink of suicide and mysterious incidents sabotage the factory, Jasper has 24 days to unravel the malicious plot and convince his employer that life is worth living. (Mystery, Independently Published)

Romantic Suspense:


Justice Buried by Patricia Bradley -- A security specialist is accused of murder and must clear her name or her career is over, but her investigation draws her into the path of a killer, and she finds herself fighting for her life. When a man from her past is called in to investigate, she may find that he's the biggest security threat yet . . . to her heart. (Romantic Suspense from Revell - A Division of Baker Publishing)



Rescued Hearts by Hope Toler Dougherty -- An innocent bike ride leads to a hostage situation, jeopardizing an undercover mission and two stubborn hearts. (Romantic Suspense from Mantle Rock Publishing)



Deadly Proof by Rachel Dylan -- A female attorney hires a former Army Ranger turned private investigator to help research an alleged pharmaceutical cover-up. As the case deepens, both hearts and lives become endangered. It appears someone is willing to risk everything--even murder--to keep the case from going to trial. (Romantic Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])



Uncharted Hope by Keely Brooke Keith --
Sophia Ashton must prove herself in her new job while researching the gray leaf medicine and dealing with her toxic family. (Romantic Suspense from Edenbrooke Press)

Thriller/Suspense:


Crown of Souls by Ronie Kendig -- Perhaps the only person as skilled as Cole "Tox" Russell is Alec King, a rogue Special Forces operator who vanished months ago. Now he’s back, and he's out for justice. Furious with orders that got his men killed, he intends to make those responsible pay. And he insists Tox join him, believing they are the same breed of soldier. Afraid his old friend could be right, Tox battles a growing darkness within himself as he and his team are forced into another deadly encounter with antiquity. It appears Alec is harnessing the power of a mysterious artifact, a crown that history has linked to some of the worst slaughters in humanity. Racing to stop Alec before his vengeance is unleashed, Tox must fight the monster without becoming one. (Military Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])



Witness Protection by Carol Kinsey -- After four years in witness protection, Ty Westgate’s identity has been exposed - with the help of a struggling nurse, the ex-lawyer with a new faith must work to unravel the truth behind his adversaries before he’s silenced permanently. (Thriller/Suspense, Independently Published)



*All authors whose books are included on the ACFW New Releases list attest that their book meets CBA standards for clean, Christian content. The posting of this list on the Sweet South Blog is not a review or an endorsement of any book on the list.
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Monday, August 28, 2017

August 2017 Fiction Releases #ACFW

Whew, I'm late getting these out, folks! Here are the fresh-picked fiction titles released from ACFW members in August.


August 2017 New Releases

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

Action/Adventure:




Imperfect Lies by Elizabeth Noyes -- When another woman emerges from the past to claim Mallory Cameron's happily ever after, she cuts her losses and sets out to find a headline-worthy story to launch her journalism career. She embarks on a whirlwind journey that takes her across the United States, to the blue-green waters of the Caribbean, on to sunny Mexico, and deep into the dangerous parts of Africa where terror reigns. James Evers turned his back on a life of power and privilege to carve a place in the world for himself. Now that he's finally discovered his niche as a small-town sheriff and found the woman he wants in his future, a past indiscretion struts in on high heels and sends his newfound love fleeing headlong into peril. His mission: neutralize old enemies, defuse new threats, resolve past mistakes, settle family disputes, and—most importantly—find and rescue his woman from terrorists before the unthinkable happens. (Action/Adventure from Write Integrity Press)



Contemporary Romance:




The Bachelor’s Unexpected Family by Lisa Carter -- Young widow Kristina Montgomery moves to Kiptohanock, Virginia, hoping it will give her and her teenage son, Gray, a fresh start. She longs for the peace and quiet only a small town can provide. But her plans are thwarted by her new neighbor, Canyon Collier, a former Coast Guard pilot and a crop duster. Gray is instantly drawn to the pilot and his teenage niece, Jade—and Kristina's not far behind. She and Canyon are soon bonding over parenting their charges and their spark becomes undeniable. Could it be that the spirited pilot is just what Kristina needs to teach her heart to soar again? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])




Gift of the Magpie by Zoe M. McCarthy -- Amanda Larrowe’s lack of trust sabotages her relationships. The English teacher and award-winning author of middle-grade adventure books for boys has shut off communication with friends and family to meet her January 2 book deadline. Now, in the deepest snow accumulation Richmond, Virginia, has experienced in years, Camden Lancaster moves in across the street. After ten years, Amanda’s heart still smarts from the humiliating aftermath of their perfect high-school Valentine’s Day date. Camden may have transformed into a handsome, amiable man, but his likeability doesn’t instill trust in Amanda’s heart. When Cam doesn’t recognize her on their first two encounters, she thinks it’s safe to be his fair-weather neighbor. Boy is she wrong. (Contemporary Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)




A Mother for Leah by Rachel L. Miller --It’s been ten years since Leah Fisher’s mother died in a buggy accident. But when Leah’s father shows interest in Naomi Yoder, Leah isn’t ready for a new mother. Will Leah be able to let go of her own ideas and realize that God truly does know best for her or will she allow love to slip through her fingers, destroying Samuel Fisher and Naomi Yoder's happiness at the same time? (Contemporary from S & G Publishing)



General Contemporary:





Freedom’s Ring by Heidi Chiavaroli -- An antique ring reunites a Boston Marathon bombing survivor with the man who saved her. Together they unearth the two-hundred-year- old history of a woman who suffered tremendous loss in the Boston Massacre, a woman torn between the love of two men – one a patriot, one a Redcoat. (General Contemporary from Tyndale House)



Fresh Faith by Elise Phillips -- Joy Abbott had been trying to start her life over for years -- and failing. Then a letter summoned her to Texas and everything changed. (General Contemporary from Desert Breeze Publishing)

Historical:





Enchanted Isle by Melanie Dobson -- In the spring of 1958, Jenny Winter embarks on a two-month adventure to a quaint village in England’s magical Lake District. With a new camera and an eye for capturing the beauty others miss, she can’t wait to explore the heathery fells and mystical waters. Adrian Kemp, a handsome and enigmatic local, makes the sightseeing even more beguiling. When Adrian shows Jenny his late father’s abandoned dream, a deserted island amusement park, she glimpses a kindred spirit in this reckless, haunted young man. Yet as she opens her heart to Adrian, the two stumble into a mystery leading back a generation to an unforgettable romance and an unsolved murder. As long-held secrets come to light, it’s left to Jenny and Adrian to put the past to rest and restore a lost dream. (Historical from Waterfall Press)



Titus: The Aristocrat by Katheryn Maddox Haddad -- Titus intends to become a famous lawyer in the Roman Empire. Instead, he is sent by Paul to arbitrate between arch enemies in wild Corinth, wilder Crete, and wildest Dalmatia. In each place he suffers. But, long before that, he suffers from guilt over the death of his mother when he was eleven years old. How does Titus survive it all? (Historical from Northern Lights Publishing House)



Historical Romance:





To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander -- With fates bound by a shared tragedy, a reformed gambler from the Colorado Territory and a Southern Belle bent on breaking free from society's expectations must work together to achieve their dreams - provided the truth doesn't tear them apart first. (Historical Romance from Zondervan)



The Second Chance Brides Collection by Lauralee Bliss, Angela Breidenbach, Ramona K. Cecil, Pamela Griffin, Grace Hitchcock, Pam Hillman, Laura V. Hilton, Tiffany Amber Stockton, and Liz Tolsma -- Meet nine women who each believe their chance for lifelong love has passed them by. From the girls who lost their beaus to war, to the wallflowers overshadowed by others, and the widows deeply hurt by their loss, the desire to love and be loved spans American history from 1777 to 1944. Experience the sweet pull of romance on each life and the blossom of faith that leads them to brighter futures. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)




The Promise of Breeze Hill by Pam Hillman -- Anxious for his brothers to join him on the rugged frontier along the Mississippi River, Connor O’Shea has no choice but to indenture himself as a carpenter in exchange for their passage from Ireland. But when he’s sold to Isabella Bartholomew of Breeze Hill Plantation, Connor fears he’ll repeat past mistakes and vows not to be tempted by the lovely lady. The responsibilities of running Breeze Hill have fallen on Isabella’s shoulders after her brother was found dead in the swamps along the Natchez Trace and a suspicious fire devastated their crops, almost destroyed their home, and left her father seriously injured. Even with Connor’s help, Isabella fears she’ll lose her family’s plantation. Despite her growing feelings for the handsome Irish carpenter, she seriously considers accepting her wealthy and influential neighbor’s proposal of marriage. Soon, though, Connor realizes someone is out to eliminate the Bartholomew family. Can he set aside his own feelings to keep Isabella safe? (Historical Romance from Tyndale House)



Romantic Suspense:





Chasing Secrets by Lynette Eason -- When a photo leads investigators in West Ireland to open a twenty-five-year-old cold case, Elite Guardians bodyguard Haley Callaghan's life is suddenly in danger. Haley knows how to take care of herself; after all, she's made a career out of taking care of others. But after she has an uncomfortably close call, Detective Steven Rothwell takes it upon himself to stay with her--and the young client she has taken under her wing. A protector at heart, he's not about to let Haley fight this battle alone. In a sweeping plot that takes them into long-buried memories--and the depths of the heart--Haley and Steven will have to solve the mystery of Haley's past while dodging bullets, bombs, and bad guys who just won't quit. (Romantic Suspense from Revell [Baker])



Plain Retribution by Dana R. Lynn -- Ten years ago while on rumspringa, Rebecca Miller and her friends were kidnapped and held captive…and now, living in the English world, she's nearly abducted again. One by one her friends who once helped send their abductor to jail are targeted, and she is next…unless police officer Miles Olsen can stop a killer. Deaf since birth, the only person on the force that Rebecca can communicate with is Miles, and he needs this case to redeem himself of past mistakes. When the relentless killer tracks them deep into the heart of Amish country, protecting Rebecca must be Miles's sole focus. Because a mistake this time will cost something worth more to him than his job—the woman he's falling for. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])



Cold Blooded by Anne Patrick -- Detective Gwen Jamison has the highest closure rate in her division, but a string of armed robberies is about to take over her life. Not only will her job be on the line, but the troubling case also wreaks havoc on her personal life. Lieutenant Ian McKean knew he would have his hands full when he took over leadership of the detectives unit. He wasn't prepared for the headstrong Detective Jamison, though, who quickly becomes a thorn in his side. If they can stop butting heads long enough they might realize they are more alike than either imagined. (Romantic Suspense from Anne Patrick)


*All authors whose books are included on the ACFW New Releases list attest that their book meets CBA standards for clean, Christian content. The posting of this list on the Sweet South Blog is not a review or an endorsement of any book on the list.

***Last week's giveaway winner of a Kindle copy of The Captive Heart by Michelle Griep is Joy (Books Are A Blessing)! Congrats!  I'll be in touch with you soon! 

Monday, August 21, 2017

Brentwood's Ward by Michelle Griep #BookReview #Giveaway

*Please read giveaway details carefully.



and other fine booksellers.

Back Cover Copy:
 Place an unpolished lawman named Nicholas Brentwood as guardian over a spoiled, pompous beauty named Emily Payne and what do you get? More trouble than Brentwood bargains for. She is determined to find a husband this season. He just wants the large fee her father will pay him to help his ailing sister. After a series of dire mishaps, both their desires are thwarted, but each discovers that no matter what, God is in charge.



The Why:
The reason I first picked up this book is because I'd heard of the "Bow Street Runners" and thought the occupation must be terribly thrilling and interesting to read about. So when I learned Michelle Griep (fellow author in the Of Rags and Riches Collection) had written a story about one, well I just had to read it.

The Main Characters:
Intriguing, entertaining, gritty, unique, mysterious... These terms best describe this tale--and it's hero--for me. Nathan Brentwood puts me in mind of Lawrence of Arabia, perhaps in his back story at least. The heroine is a well-portrayed reflection of the times, garnering more interest with every page. I was quite attached to both by the time the book ended.

The Secondary Characters:
I sort of fell in love with secondary character Alexander Moore and just found out he has his own book coming soon called The Inkeeper's Daughter! Huzzah!

The Author's Particular Talent:
Michelle is incredible at writing plot twists, action sequences, and sense-igniting phrases. Her word-smithing carves a path that you're mind must follow until you no longer are reading about the character--you are the character.

The Stakes:
The constant threat of death cried out from every page, whether the death of a career, one's innocence, a friend, or a love interest, and kept me leafing through into the small morning hours.

Overall:
While a tad grittier than some CBA historicals (a near-rape scene comes to mind), the story brings to life so much history of the time and location. The characters were unlike any others I had read, and the thrill of the chase made this story shine. I wished for a little more of the heroine's faith-journey at the end, but very much admired the hero as he struggled yet relied on God no matter the circumstances.

The More Factor:
Definitely wanting to read more mysteries and historicals from this author's pen.


*GIVEAWAY:
I'm giving away a Kindle copy of Michelle's The Captive Heart, pictured below. To enter, comment with your email (in AT/DOTcom format). OR email me at natalieATnataliemonkDOTcom if you have trouble commenting on the page. For extra entries paste an URL where you've shared this giveaway on social media. Giveaway ends noon CST Sunday, August 27, 2017.



Back Cover Copy:
On the run from a brute of an aristocratic employer, Eleanor Morgan escapes from England to America, the land of the free, for the opportunity to serve an upstanding Charles Town family. But freedom is hard to come by as an indentured servant, and downright impossible when she’s forced to agree to an even harsher contract—marriage to a man she’s never met.

Backwoodsman Samuel Heath doesn’t care what others think of him—but his young daughter’s upbringing matters very much. The life of a trapper in the Carolina backcountry is no life for a small girl, but neither is abandoning his child to another family. He decides it’s time to marry again, but that proves to be an impossible task. Who wants to wed a murderer?

Both Samuel and Eleanor are survivors, facing down the threat of war, betrayal, and divided loyalties that could cost them everything, but this time they must face their biggest challenge ever . . .Love.




Comment Fodder:
Have you read any of Michelle Griep's books or is this author new to you?
If you have read Michelle's books, do you have a favorite?


***Winner of a paperback copy of Of Rags and Riches Romance Collection is Wendy Newcomb. Winner of Stealing Jake by Pam Hillman is Marisa Laudadio. Winner of the 35 Book Christian Romance "Book Your Summer Vacation" giveaway is Shannon Capelle. Congrats, winners!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

35 Book Christian Romance #Giveaway

Lots of giveaways going on here on the blog right now, and I'm adding a new one (recap on the other two at the end of this post)! But in the giveaway below, you could win THIRTY-FIVE BOOKS AT ONCE, including Of Rags and Riches Romance Collection.

http://www.nataliemonk.com/2017/08/35-book-christian-romance-giveaway.html


Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


My other two giveaways are running in their own respective posts (click the covers to go to the posts):


http://www.nataliemonk.com/2017/08/of-rags-and-riches-made-ecpa.html

Comment Fodder:
How many books have you read this summer?
Which were your favorite?

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Promise of Breeze Hill by Pam Hillman #BookReview #Giveaway

***Please read giveaway details carefully.***




From the Back Cover:

Anxious for his brothers to join him on the rugged frontier along the Mississippi River, Connor O’Shea has no choice but to indenture himself as a carpenter in exchange for their passage from Ireland. But when he’s sold to Isabella Bartholomew of Breeze Hill Plantation, Connor fears he’ll repeat past mistakes and vows not to be tempted by the lovely lady.
The responsibilities of running Breeze Hill have fallen on Isabella’s shoulders after her brother was found dead in the swamps along the Natchez Trace and a suspicious fire devastated their crops, almost destroyed their home, and left her father seriously injured. Even with Connor’s help, Isabella fears she’ll lose her family’s plantation. Despite her growing feelings for the handsome Irish carpenter, she seriously considers accepting her wealthy and influential neighbor’s proposal of marriage.
Soon, though, Connor realizes someone is out to eliminate the Bartholomew family. Can he set aside his own feelings to keep Isabella safe?



Characters
Connor: A gentle, protective, swoon-worthy hero. Irish. 
Isabella: A gutsy heroine determined to save her struggling plantation home. 
They both dearly love their families and put their heart and soul into pursuing their goals.
Secondary characters in this novel are memorable as well! Many unique and vivid portraits of Southern folk. This heroine has a mystery tied to her mother, which was intriguing. And I found it interesting to watch her grow from an impetuous young girl into her role of perceptive woman-of-the-house.

Setting
Fascinating history. Life and times of Mississippians at the end of the 18th century. This was before statehood, so when the men gathered on the porch to drink lemonade, they spoke of the territory and governor and banded together as property owners to deal with the issues facing them and their loved ones. I also found interesting the mentions of Irish slaves and their role during this time period.

Romance
From the moment Connor and Isabella meet at the auction block, he is so wounded and guilt-ridden and defensive, but matures through his love for the heroine and his realization that his perceptions from his past life are wrong. Connor has had a previous, hurtful relationship, but Isabella is quite innocent about men. About many things, as she has been sheltered and well-guarded in her plantation home and social circles. Though Connor has been ill-treated by a woman, gives care to be respectful and gentle with Isabella, no matter how little he trusts her. As their feelings grow, their relationship develops tenderly, showcasing Connor's protective instincts.

Pace  
Well-paced, flowing, and varied. Thoughtful at times and action packed at others. Goes perfectly with lemonade and porch swings!
 
Stakes
The danger of highwaymen along the Natchez Trace and specifically the Devil’s Backbone were historical bits I’d never heard of until reading Pam’s blogs about her research for this book. An eye-opening subject since sometimes we, at least I, tend to think of the Natchez Trace as a peaceful, scenic joyride. Not so during the 18th century. I'm glad for books like these that bring out the struggles of those in prior centuries, familiar struggles that I can relate to and learn from.

Overall Impression
The history fascinates, characters made me care about them, and I can’t wait to see what happens to the other Connor brothers!

GIVEAWAY
 
I'm giving away a Kindle copy of Pam Hillman's STEALING JAKE, pictured below, c
elebrating one of my favorite stories from Pam's back-list. To enter, leave your email in a AT/DOT format. OR email me at natalieATnataliemonkDOTcom if you have trouble commenting. For extra entries, sign up for my/Pam's newsletter and/or post an URL in the comments where you've shared this giveaway on social media. Giveaway ends 8pm CST August 14, 2017.
Back cover copy:
When Livy O’Brien spies a young boy jostling a man walking along the boardwalk, she recognizes the act for what it is. After all, she used to be known as Light-fingered Livy. But that was before she put her past behind her and moved to the growing town of Chestnut, Illinois, where she’s helping to run an orphanage. Now she’ll do almost anything to protect the street kids like herself.
Sheriff’s deputy Jake Russell had no idea what he was in for when he ran into Livy—literally—while chasing down a pickpocket. With a rash of robberies and a growing number of street kids in town—as well as a loan on the family farm that needs to be paid off—Jake doesn’t have time to pursue a girl. Still, he can’t seem to get Livy out of his mind. He wants to get to know her better . . . but Livy isn’t willing to trust any man, especially not a lawman.


Comment Fodder:
Have you read Pam Hillman's books before? If so, do you have a favorite?

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Of Rags and Riches Made the ECPA Bestsellers List!



God is so good! 

My agent emailed me last night with some news, and I liked to have jumped out of my seat! If you're Southern, you'll know what I'm saying here. She forwarded the link to August 2017's ECPA Bestsellers List and told me to check out #16. I was FLOORED. (Another Southern phrase? I'm not sure.) 




Someone was on the phone in the room with me, so I couldn't jump up and squeal and do a Scooby Doo dance like I wanted. So I held my breath a few seconds, ran and found my mom in the other room and told her, then my sister and Dad. What a fun surprise!

Congrats to all my sister-authors in this Collection! Getting this news felt like a God-hug to me, and just knowing He is in control means so much. 


While you're here, have a slice of cake! We have chocolate, caramel, birthday, red velvet, German chocolate, orange slice, coconut, strawberry, Italian creme, and a good Southern favorite, hummingbird cake. (Anyone know where that name came from?)

I want let you in on the celebrating, so I'm giving away a paperback copy of Of Rags and Riches Romance Collection! Winner will be announced August 14, 2017. Comment with your email to enter. (Remember, to avoid spammers, separate your email into pieces or use the emailaddressATserverDOTcom format.)


Comment Fodder: What's your favorite flavor of cake?