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Monday Musings…Do You Trust Your Favorite Authors?

Have you ever given up on an author? I know I have. I’ve even written a blog post about how I’ve stopped reading some authors because after a while it felt like all their books were the same even if the name was changed or the plot was different. But recently, I was going through some new releases and realized that I had stopped reading several of the authors….even though they are good authors. And the reason I did that was due to one thing: drama.

As a reader, I like to trust the author. I like to know that no matter how high or low the author takes me, that I can trust them to write a satisfactory story. But I have discovered that some authors, who I used to consider favorites, have lost me because of a choice or choices that they made…in one book! Is it fair that I’ve stopped reading and buying their books because I didn’t like one? No, but let me tell you…I really didn’t like what they chose to do with the book. Maybe one day I will go back and check them out, but they lost my trust as a reader and if I were to pick up a book today, I would probably be reading like:

I know as someone who writes that there is an innate desire to have your new book be different than your last. And so if you have level-headed heroines all the time, people might get tired of them. If you have main characters who wisely choose left, they might be boring. Or, people might not relate to them since it appears that your main characters always make the right choice. I don’t know. I just happen to think the risk is greater in having main characters make poor choices.

What do you think? Have you read any authors that you think are awesome…except for the tiny fact that you don’t trust them?

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Mini-Reviews

From the decks of the ill-fated Lusitania to the smoke-filled trenches of France, Ashleigh must choose between the forgiveness of her past, life in the present, and a Savior who can rescue her from them all. When her fiancé leaves her eight months before their wedding, the unexpected blow ignites a battalion of insecurities stemming from her father’s intimate betrayal. Her worst fears are confirmed – who could ever love a soiled woman? In an attempt to escape the shame and disappointment of her past, Ashleigh boards the ill-fated Lusitania to cross the war-torn waters of Europe. Much to her dismay, she isn’t traveling alone. Sam Miller is always making up for his best friend’s mistakes. Determined to help Ashleigh, he offers his compassion and protection as she ventures across a perilous sea. With the faint hope of renewing his lost love for Ashleigh’s sister, Sam never expects to find the woman of his dreams in his best friend’s former fiancé and his own childhood companion. As they travel across the Atlantic, neither is prepared for the life-altering and heart-breaking journey of their friendship. When the truth of Ashleigh’s past explodes in the middle of war and Sam rejects her, Ashleigh must decide if God is enough – or if the double weight of her betrayal and past will crush her life forever.

Review

I thought this book was very engaging. I loved that some of it took place on the Lusitania, I really liked the romantic setup between Ashleigh and Sam, and I was constantly turning pages. My only negative point with this one is that at the end, the drama felt a bit contrived and I felt like it could have ended sooner.

Two lives taken down different roads – one enduring love – one shot at starting over. If only they believed in second chances..

Julia Connelly is finally free from twelve long years in an abusive relationship. Now able to live the life she’s longed for, Julia takes her two children back home to Vermont, hoping for peace and healing. The last person she expects to see is the man she eloped with at eighteen—who then abandoned her two months into their marriage, with little explanation. .

When an assignment in the Middle East ends in tragedy, popular news correspondent, Reid Wallace, returns to his hometown seeking answers and peace of mind. .

Confronting his past was not in the plan. .

Now he’s asking different questions. Like why the only woman he’s ever really loved still mesmerizes him. Why the haunted expression she wears reaches right into his soul. .

And why her twelve year-old son looks just like him. .

They say you can’t go home again. Sometimes you don’t have a choice.

Review

Catherine West is another fabulous storyteller who had me immersed in a novel that I did not want to put down. I will say that the premise is slightly familiar, but that didn’t matter because most of the characters were awesome and completely pulled me in. My problem with this book was Julia. Anytime you hide a man’s child your reason had better be amazing. Her reason was not. And in the end she really just kept coming off as selfish. Every decision she made was based on her feelings, her pride, her hurt and rarely did she put her kid first. But fantastic writing as usual, if you start it you won’t want to set it down.

Twelve years ago Matthew “the Rocket” Rising had it all. Married to his high school sweetheart and one of the winningest quarterbacks in the history of college football, he was the number one NFL draft pick. But on the night of the draft, he plummeted from the pinnacle of esteem. Falsely accused of a heinous crime with irrefutable evidence, it seemed in an instant all was lost–his reputation, his career, his freedom, and most devastatingly, the love of his life.

Having served his sentence and never played a down of professional football, Matthew leaves prison with one goal–to find his wife, Audrey, whom no one has seen since the trial. He returns to an unwelcoming reception from his Gardi, Georgia, hometown to learn that Audrey has taken shelter from the media with the nuns at a Catholic school. There she has discovered a young man with the talent to achieve the football career Matthew should have had. All he needs is the right coach. Although helping the boy means Matthew violates the conditions of his release and–if discovered–reincarceration for life, he’ll take the chance with hope of winning back Audrey’s love.
Review
Oh this book. No one can pull on my heart strings quite like Charles Martin can. His writing makes me want to write. The story is sad, but it never stays that way and I promise you will become super invested in the characters. The only problem I had (ok there were two) was that there was definitely a lot of football talk and me being not particularly sports-like, I pretty much skimmed those sections and the wife. On the one hand, I understood the wife, on the other hand, if I knew someone as well as she supposedly knew Matthew, there is no way I would give up on them like that. I just felt like she should have done more. But, as always, a top notch novel and am sorry it took me so long to read it.
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Paula Vince’s Best Forgotten

A young accident victim wakes up in hospital and can’t remember who he is. Why does he have nothing in common with his family? Why does he despise the person he was supposed to be? Why has his best friend disappeared without a trace? Is somebody after him? His family can offer no solutions. His girlfriend is strangely aloof and he cannot shake off a feeling that the answers will prove more unpleasant than his amnesia. Somehow he must find out as it seems time is running out. Paula Vince has woven elements of secrecy and suspense with her trademark warmth and compassion. Best Forgotten is an inspirational masterpiece you won’t forget.

Review

I’ve discovered a recent love for fiction that showcases amnesia. And not just any case of amnesia, but the kind where only the main character can’t remember what happened but everyone around him knows bits and pieces of what happened. Believe you me, it makes for quite the suspenseful book…especially when you know someone has probably been murdered. This book did not disappoint. Here’s why:

What I liked

Intriguing. I was pulled in from the first page. Right away you get that something bad has happened and that the main character is in trouble, but he doesn’t know why.

Humor. I love, love, love that when the hero of the story went home, he was totally confused about his former self. It made for quite a few funny situations. I mean, he wakes up and he does not understand a single thing about himself. Several times he was highly disgusted with his former self’s old ways.

Suspense. The hero wakes up and knows that someone is out to get him but he can’t remember who or why or when or anything. Every person is suspect.

Reconciliation. Because the hero can’t remember the past, he begins to reconcile with people he has hurt or who has hurt him and I just loved watching him fix relationships that had been broken.

The message. I really liked the message that we are a sum of our memories and our actions. The hero discovers it’s not that he’s so different that his former self so much that his past made him who he was before his amnesia.

Spiritually, the hero is not a believer at the beginning of the novel, but it is almost the first thing on this mind. He goes searching for the truth and very slowly he begins to gain an understanding of who God is. And honestly, how much God really loves him.

What I didn’t like:

The only thing that didn’t really work for me was the romance. And that’s only because she was suspect too. By the time I figured out what was going on, it was a little late for me to care whether or not he cared for her. I will be honest, though and say that this book didn’t necessarily need the romance.

Romantic Scale: 7.5

Overall, so good and highly recommended!

**I won a copy from the author. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**

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Monday Musings….Historical Romances to Look Forward To

In the new novel by the three-time Christy Award-winning author of The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, a woman’s startling secrets lead her into unexpected danger and romance in Regency England… 
One final cry…“God almighty, help us!” and suddenly her world shifted violently, until a blinding collision scattered her mind and shook her bones. Then, the pain. The freezing water. And as all sensation drifted away, a hand reached for hers, before all faded into darkness…

Now she has awakened as though from some strange, suffocating dream in a warm and welcoming room she has never seen before, and tended to by kind, unfamiliar faces. But not all has been swept away. She recalls fragments of the accident. She remembers a baby. And a ring on her finger reminds her of a lie.

But most of all, there is a secret. And in this house of strangers she can trust no one but herself to keep it.

July, 2015

The American Revolution is finally over, and Sophie Menzies is starved for good news. When her nearest neighbor, General Seamus Ogilvy, finally comes home to Tall Acre, she hopes it is a sign of better days to come. But the general is now a widower with a small daughter in desperate need of a mother. Nearly destitute, Sophie agrees to marry Seamus and become the mistress of Tall Acre in what seems a safe, sensible arrangement. But when a woman from the general’s past returns without warning, the ties that bind this fledgling family together will be strained to the utmost. When all is said and done, who will be the rightful mistress of Tall Acre?

Triumph and tragedy, loyalty and betrayal–readers find it all in the rich pages of this newest historical novel from the talented pen of Laura Frantz. Her careful historical details immerse the reader in the story world, and her emotional writing and finely tuned characters never cease to enchant fans both old and new.

September, 2015

The one who needs rescuing isn’t always the one in the tower.

Rapunzel can throw a knife better than any man around. And her skills as an artist rival those of any artist she’s met. But for a woman in medieval times, the one skill she most desires is the hardest one to obtain: the ability to read.

After yet another young man asks for Rapunzel’s hand in marriage, Mother decides they need to move once again, but this time to a larger city. Rapunzel’s heart soars—surely there she can fulfill her dream. But Mother won’t let her close to a man. She claims that no man can be trusted.

After being rescued by a knight on the road to the city, and in turn rescuing him farther down the road, Rapunzel’s opportunity arrives at last. This knight, Sir Gerek, agrees to educate Rapunzel in order to pay back his debt. She just has to put up with his arrogant nature and single-minded focus on riches and prestige.

But this Rapunzel story is unlike any other and the mystery that she uncovers will change everything—except her happily ever after.

November, 2015

She was a nun of noble birth. He, a heretic, a reformer…an outlaw of the Holy Roman Empire.

In the 16th century, nun Katharina von Bora’s fate fell no further than the Abbey. Until she read the writings of Martin Luther.

His sweeping Catholic church reformation—condemning a cloistered life and promoting the goodness of marriage—awakened her desire for everything she’d been forbidden. Including Martin Luther himself.

Despite the fact that the attraction and tension between them is undeniable, Luther holds fast to his convictions and remains isolated, refusing to risk anyone’s life but his own. And Katharina longs for love, but is strong-willed. She clings proudly to her class distinction, pining for nobility over the heart of a reformer. They couldn’t be more different.

But as the world comes tumbling down around them, and with Luther’s threatened life a constant strain, these unlikely allies forge an unexpected bond of understanding, support and love.

Together, they will alter the religious landscape forever.

October, 2015

Is there any single one that you absolutely can’t wait for? These all sound amazing to me. I’m so excited about Jody Hedlund’s but very much looking forward to Julie Klassen. Laura Frantz’s novels are usually very romantic and there’s nothing quite like a fairytale (Melanie Dickerson).

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Interview of Jennifer Hartz +Giveaway!

Thank you for willing to be interviewed!

1. What was your inspiration behind the Heroes of the Horde series?

You mean aside from being a huge fan of superhero stories, right? I think the real heart of Heroes of the Horde is the characters. I’ve always loved writing realistic characters who find themselves thrust into unbelievably unrealistic circumstances. My heroes are no different. I wanted to write a superhero story with characters that we can all relate to. We can all think of a classmate like Mike. We’ve all felt shy like Shelly at some point. We call can recall the cutest guy in school like Jimmy. The characters are what really inspired me. Namely Maggie. I had her in mind and new she needed a story. Slowly Heroes came to me.

2. Do you have a favorite character in the Heroes of the Horde series?

Hmmm… that’s a tough question. I think if I had to pick one, it would be Jimmy. I just love his character arch. Especially since he ended up in a place I didn’t anticipate when I set out the write the series. Plus, I’m a sucker for the “bad” boy.

3. When you started the first book in the series, did you know where each character would end up by book 4?

I thought I did! But oh my lovely heroes had a mind of their own! A few of the characters did stick close to my original plan, but a few (like Jimmy as I stated above) felt the need to leave my skeletal framework and do their own thing. Those pesky teens!

4. What is one thing you want readers to take away from this series?

The entire crux of the series is that God will use whatever means necessary to reach His people. Even 200 year old demons and superpowers.

5. Can you tell us what you’re working on next?

I just finished the edits on Hunter’s Fury. This story is New Adult, Paranormal, Romance. Like Heroes of the Horde, it’s not exactly a Christian novel, but there are some Christian elements. Especially at the end of the story where I throw a major Christian curveball that will hopefully mess with people’s minds!

Giveaway!

If this book has captured your fancy (and I hope it does!), there’s an opportunity for you to win your own copy! The author has graciously decided to giveaway three copies of the first book in the series and for the grand prize winner will win all four books in the series! All you need to do is leave a comment with your email address. The giveaway ends on July 17th! The winner will be randomly selected. If you win, you have 48 hours to respond to the notification before I will choose another winner. Happy Reading!

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Ronie Kendig’s Falcon

Special Forces operator Salvatore “Falcon” Russo vowed to never again speak to or trust Lieutenant Cassandra Walker after a tragedy four years ago. But as Raptor closes in on the cyber terrorists responsible for killing two of their own, Sal must put his life—and the lives of his teammates—in her hands. Despite his anger, Cassie is ill-prepared for his resistance and the fallout when she must protect the one asset who can end the attacks. As allies become enemies and hostiles become unlikely partners, Raptor fights for its very existence

Review

I’ve read every book in The Quiet Professionals. My thoughts:

What I liked:

The setting. It’s not often you read about military men doing “modern” day operations. Ronie Kendig always does a fabulous job of just pulling you into that arena and keeping you there. I feel like she really does her research in terms of learning the Middle East, and their customs, and what military operations must be like.

The story. This series has had individual stories, but it has also had a one big story that encompassed all the novels as well. It was almost like a chessboard the way she would move one character, take one back. I will say that I was extremely surprised when I discovered who the mole was as they had been in all the novels and I had mistakenly found them to be trustworthy.

The team. Raptor Six was a team that I could believe in, even from the start when they were first mentioned in the series A Breed Apart. No matter what happened, no matter if they got irritated with each other, they could always count on each other and in turn, I could count on them.

Spiritually, in the book, characters pray and mention God, but it’s fairly light on spiritual things.

What I didn’t like:

Too much action. I got lost. I started skimming. This works well in a movie, but I think it must be tempered a bit in a book.

Cassie. The main heroine was supposed to be this tough spy, but this girl didn’t seem to know what was going on and she was making all these decisions based on her feelings. I didn’t trust her, and Raptor 6 didn’t either.

The romance. Honestly, I love military structure, but it’s usually the romance in a book that will sell me and I wasn’t sold. Cassie and Sal have a back story, which is unusual and fascinating, but they spent 90% of the book fighting and arguing and not communicating. Like, I kid you not, it was approximately at the 90% mark that they finally reached an understanding. And so as a reader, I was a bit disappointed. Arguments does not a relationship make.

Romantic scale: 6

Overall, it was a solid conclusion to the series. It wasn’t my favorite, but Ronie Kendig is a fantastic author and so this novel is still worth checking out.

**I received a copy from Netgalley. My opinion is not affected in anyway.**

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Monday Musings…Look What’s Out!

Eyes of the Heart 2 (2)Through the Waters 3

My new novel, Through the Waters is live! It can be bought here. Because it’s out today, I decided to make The Eyes of the Heart free for the next few days (get it today!), so if you enjoyed it, you can recommend it to your friends at no cost!

Just to tell you a bit about Through the Waters, it is a series (Tate Family Series) and book two comes out next year this time. However, each novel is a standalone and does not in anyway need the other novel. But, I still have another novel in the works for December 2015. The title is TBA, but when you read Through the Waters, you will come across the name Rudy Addison and can look forward to learning more about him soon.