Category Archives: Contemporary Fiction

Wait For Me

Wait for Me

By Susan May Warren

The Story

With Jess and Pete, every day is lived at full throttle.

Now if they can only stay alive to enjoy it.

Pete Brooks can’t believe he’s waited an entire year for EMT Jess Tagg to return to Montana, only to have her break his heart. Worse, a series of mistakes on the job has cost lives, and Pete isn’t sure he wants to continue to work in search and rescue. Maybe if he can just get over Jess, he can figure out how to move forward.

When a terrible fight between Jess and Pete sparks an impulsive decision, Jess finds herself crashed on the side of a highway along with two others. Just when Jess thinks things couldn’t get any worse, they are taken captive and dragged into the untamed Montana wilderness–with murderous intent.

Now Pete will have to call on everything he’s learned to find them–and pray that his past mistakes don’t cost him the life of the woman he can’t stop loving.

(Back cover summary from Revell)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Oh man, Wait for Me is a stunning conclusion to an incredible, fast-paced series. I’ve long wanted Pete and Jess to get their stuff together and just finally get together for goodness’ sake—but it’s not as easy as all that. And it isn’t a quick, easy solution they find in this story.

At first, I really wasn’t too happy with either character. Jess keeps making bad choices and putting people in poor positions, because she doesn’t want to hurt anyone. Pete acts like a jerk, because then at least he’ll deserve the bad things that inevitably come his way.  These two characters come head-to-head with their faults, past and present consequences, and grace of God. And just like the rest of the books in this series, it’s an explosion that sets the heart racing and the pages turning. I always try to savor Susan May Warren’s books, but she’s just too good. I can’t stop to savor, let alone breathe. This story had just enough twists and turns—even causing me to gasp out loud once. The romance is full-throttle like the other stories in this series. But what I love the most is how the characters changed. More than their love for each other, realizing and stepping into God’s love for them changes them. And they go from the mess that we’re all experienced with, to the glow of grace He offers us all.

A fantastic conclusion to a great series, it brought tears to my eyes as I turned to the last page.

About the Author

Susan May Warren is the USA Today bestselling author of over fifty novels with more than 1 million books sold, including Wild Montana Skies, Rescue Me, A Matter of Trust, Troubled Waters, and Storm Front. Winner of a RITA Award and multiple Christy and Carol Awards, as well as the HOLT Medallion and numerous Readers’ Choice Awards, Susan has written contemporary and historical romances, romantic suspense, thrillers, romantic comedy, and novellas. She makes her home in Minnesota. Find her online at http://www.susanmaywarren.com, on Facebook at Susan May Warren Fiction, and on Twitter @susanmaywarren.

(Biography from Revell)

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

Advertisements

A Sparkle of Silver

A Sparkle of Silver

By Liz Johnson

The Story

Uncovering the past can lead to an unexpected future . . .

Millie Sullivan plays a 1920s-era guest during tours of a palatial estate on the shore of St. Simons Island, Georgia, where her great-grandmother was a real guest ninety years ago. When Millie learns of a lost diary that may contain the location of a hidden treasure on the estate and reveal the identity of her great-grandfather, she sets out to find the truth of her heritage–and the fortune she desperately needs. But it won’t be easy.

When security guard Ben Thornton discovers her snooping in the estate’s private library, he threatens to have her fired. Still, her story seems too ludicrous to be fiction, and her offer to split the treasure is too tempting to pass up.

Get ready for a romantic escapade through dark halls and dusty corners that will have you holding your breath and sighing with delight.

(Back cover summary from Revell)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I absolutely fell in love with this book. Liz Johnson writes real-to-life characters, who understand what it is to struggle, to be swamped by guilt, and burdened by responsibilities too big for them.

Millie (first of all, great name!) loves romance novels and her forgetful grandma. Ben is sweet and duty-driven to make up for the mistakes of others. These two characters were so much fun to read about, as they followed the clues that led them closer to the rumored treasure, answers about Millie’s past, and each other. They’re delightfully flawed. I really appreciated this, as some characters in books have ‘flaws’ that are hardly human. I felt like I could meet either Millie or Ben while picking up items at the grocery store or any of my other normal activities. They are refreshingly broken and find no easy answers. But the answers we’re led to are worth the struggle.

I liked that through the pages of the diary, we also get to have a glimpse at Ruth and her life.

Towards the end, there were a few things that confused me in the character’s reactions and reasonings. But overall, I really enjoyed this book, and will definitely be reading more from Liz Johnson.

About the Author

Liz Johnson is the author of more than a dozen novels, including A Sparkle of Silver, The Red Door Inn, Where Two Hearts Meet, and On Love’s Gentle Shore, as well as a New York Times bestselling novella and a handful of short stories. A marketing manager for a Christian film company, she makes her home in Phoenix, Arizona.

(Biography from Revell)

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

The Christmas Heirloom: Four Holiday Novellas of Love Through the Generations

The Christmas Heirloom:

Four Holiday Novellas of Love through the Generations

By Krisi Ann Hunter; Karen Witemeyer; Sarah Loudin Thomas; & Becky Wade

The Story

Four Festive and Heartwarming Romance Novellas That Celebrate the Magic of Christmas

Perfect for the Christmas season, four beloved authors bring their bestselling, award-winning talents to a multigenerational collection of romantic holiday novellas. In stories ranging from 1820s Regency England to present-day Washington state, readers will be treated to Christmas tales of an heirloom brooch passed from mother to daughter for almost two hundred years. Will the family legend claiming the brooch brings love to its recipient hold true for these women separated by the years but bonded together by the ties of family?

In Kristi Ann Hunter’s “Legacy of Love,” Sarah Gooding never suspected returning a brooch to an elderly woman would lead to a job . . . and introduce her to the woman’s grandson. While he may be far above her station, she can’t help but notice that his desire to make this Christmas special for his grandmother matches her own.

In Karen Witemeyer’s “Gift of the Heart,” widow Ruth Fulbright uses the family brooch as collateral for a loan from a wealthy resort owner. But the more she comes to know the man behind the stern businessman, the more she hopes for a second chance at love as the holidays draw near.

In Sarah Loudin Thomas’s “A Shot at Love,” Fleeta Brady’s rough-and-tumble childhood means she prefers hunting to more feminine activities. She never expected her mother’s brooch might be how a fellow hunter turns her attention from competition to romance one December.

In Becky Wade’s “Because of You,” Maddie Winslow has spent years in love with a man whose heart was already spoken for. When a church Christmas project brings them together and she stumbles upon an old family brooch, might it finally be her turn for love?

(Back cover summary from Bethany House)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I love that these authors got together and created this collection! What a fun idea! I love the idea of a novella collection that spans the centuries, especially from some of my favorite authors!

Legacy of Love was a sweet story, and fun to read as Sarah Gooding began to show more of who she truly was to her employer’s handsome young grandson. She is such a unique, fun character, and I loved watching the two get to know each other better.

Gift of the Heart was an engaging story, set in a fun location. This hero is multi-faceted and not the man that anyone in town thinks he is. Getting to know Ruth brings him out of his self-imposed seclusion, and makes for a humorous, fun story.

A Shot at Love was delightfully different, as Fleeta is not a girly-girl by any stretch of the imagination. She’s strong, opinionated, and definitely does not want to fall in love, not when that love has the capacity to so overwhelm someone, they leave other loves behind. It was so fun watching how her mind changed on this aspect, and she learned there might be a man worth falling for.

I was so very excited for Because of You, as I love anything Becky Wade writes. This sweet story explores what it might be like to love again, and all the confusion that can be caught up in that. It’s a satisfying conclusion to a sweet collection.

About the Author

Kristi Ann Hunter is the author of the Hawthorne House series and a 2016 RITA Award winner, an ACFW Genesis contest winner, and a Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Award for Excellence winner. She lives with her husband and three children in Georgia. Find her online at www.kristiannhunter.com.

Winner of the HOLT Medallion and the Carol Award and a finalist for the RITA and Christy Award, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance to give the world more happily-ever-afters. Karen makes her home in Texas, with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at www.karenwitemeyer.com.

Sarah Loudin Thomas is a fundraiser for a children’s ministry and has written for Mountain Homes Southern Style and Now & Then magazines, as well as The Asheville Citizen-Times. She is the author of Miracle in a Dry Season, Until the Harvest, and A Tapestry of Secrets. She holds a BA in English from Coastal Carolina University. She and her husband reside in Asheville, North Carolina. She can be found online at www.sarahloudinthomas.com.

Becky Wade is a native of California who attended Baylor University, met and married a Texan, and now lives in Dallas. A favorite among readers of Christian contemporary romance, Becky has won a Christy Award, a Carol Award, an Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, and an INSPY Award. Learn more at www.beckywade.com.

(Biography from Bethany House)

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

The Cost of Betrayal

The Cost of Betrayal

By Dee Henderson; Dani Pettrey; & Lynette Eason

The Story

FAITH WILL BE TESTED. TRUST SHATTERED.

THREE BESTSELLING ROMANTIC SUSPENSE WRITERS REUNITE

FOR NOVELLAS OF DEADLY BETRAYAL.

Dee Henderson – “Betrayed”

After serving six years of a twenty-year sentence for a murder she didn’t commit, Janelle Roberts is finally freed. But the truth is still waiting to be discovered, and a murderer is still at large. Janelle needs to be somewhere safe with someone she can trust. She may not survive another act of treachery.

Dani Pettrey – “Deadly Isle”

Tennyson Kent is trapped on the isolated island of her childhood by a storm surge, and she is shocked when the typically idyllic community turns into the hunting grounds of a murderer. Cut off from any help from the mainland, will she and first love Callen Frost be able to identify and stop a killer before they become the next victims?

Lynette Eason – “Code of Ethics”

When Detective Isaac Martinez lands in the ER with a gunshot wound, he pulls through thanks to trauma surgeon Ruthie St. John. But as the witness to a crime and possible corruption, Martinez is at risk from someone intent on silencing him–and those around him–forever. When he barely survives another attack while recovering, both he and Ruthie must flee, trying to outrun deadly killers while locating the evidence they need to end the danger.

(Back cover summary from Bethany House)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’m afraid I just couldn’t get into the first novella. I think not having read the books connected to it was a disadvantage. I didn’t know the characters, and never really became invested in them. I think it was definitely a unique idea, and a good premise, but for me, there was just too much information about the whole process of investigating, pardons, and recovering after being falsely accused.

Dani Pettrey’s novella was thrilling. So much so that I couldn’t read it at night. Too creepy. I loved the idea of being cut off from help, and couldn’t help shuddering as the tale progressed. Callen is sweet and protective, and the perfect match for Tenni. And the twist at the end—so good! Despite stealing some of my sleep, I really liked Deadly Isle.

I’m not very familiar with Lynette Eason’s novels, but I’m about to change that! I really enjoyed that Ruthie’s job was a bit different than many of the suspense novel heroines out there. Her family was a super fun addition to the story, which definitely made me want to find out more about those characters.

Though I knew the theme of betrayal was going to weave throughout all of these novellas, it didn’t make it easy to guess who-dun-it! If you’re looking to lose some sleep, discover maybe a new-to-you suspense author, or be transported on a heart-stopping adventure, The Cost of Betrayal would be a great start.

About the Author

Dee Henderson is the author of numerous novels, including Taken, Undetected, Unspoken, Full Disclosure, and the acclaimed O’Malley and Uncommon Heroes series. Her books have won or been nominated for several prestigious industry awards, such as the RITA Award, the Christy Award, and the ECPA Gold Medallion. Dee is a lifelong resident of Illinois. Learn more at www.deehenderson.com.

Praised by New York Times best-selling author Dee Henderson as “a name to look for in romantic suspense,” Dani Pettrey has sold more than 400,000 copies of her novels to readers eagerly awaiting the next release. Dani combines the page-turning adrenaline of a thriller with the chemistry and happy-ever-after of a romance. Her novels stand out for their “wicked pace, snappy dialogue, and likable characters” (Publishers Weekly), “gripping storyline[s],” (RT Book Reviews), and “sizzling undercurrent of romance” (USA Today).

Her greatest joy as an author is sharing the stories God lays on her heart.  She researches murder and mayhem from her home in Maryland, where she lives with her husband. Their two daughters, a son-in-law, and two adorable grandsons also reside in Maryland. For more information about her novels, visit danipettrey.com.

 

Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of Oath of Honor and Called to Protect, as well as the Women of Justice, Deadly Reunions, Hidden Identity, and the Elite Guardians series. She is the winner of three ACFW Carol Awards, the Selah Award, and the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, among others. She is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and has a master’s degree in education from Converse College. Eason lives in South Carolina with her husband and two children. Learn more at www.lynetteeason.com.

(Biography from Bethany House)

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

Falling for You

Falling For You

By Becky Wade

The Story

Famously beautiful model Willow Bradford is taking a temporary break from her hectic schedule to work as the innkeeper at her family’s small-town bed-and-breakfast. She was enjoying the peace of her hometown, Merryweather, Washington, right up until she came face-to-face with Corbin Stewart, the man she loves to hate. A thoughtful rule-follower by nature, Willow threw caution to the wind four years ago when she entrusted her heart to Corbin–and suffered the consequences when it all fell apart.

Former NFL quarterback Corbin is forceful, charming, and accustomed to getting what he wants . . . except where Willow Bradford is concerned. Unable to forget her, he’s never stopped regretting what happened between them. When their paths unexpectedly cross again, he’s determined to make her give him a second chance.

When a decades-old missing persons case finds Corbin and Willow working together, they’re forced to confront their past and who they’ve become–and whether they can risk falling for one another all over again.

(Back cover summary from Amazon)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Becky Wade’s storytelling just keeps getting stronger.

In Falling For You, Willow is a character I could identify with. She’s cautious and a rule-follower. She strives for perfection, but knows she’s fallen woefully short. Corbin is everything Willow is not. He’s wild and bold. A man who knows what he wants and is used to getting it. Their story is equal parts sweet and grounded as it plays out.

The theme of forgiveness, trust, and grace is so beautifully woven throughout this story. Willow is so used to striving for perfection, that accepting Jesus’ forgiveness for her mistakes as a Christian is difficult. I could identify with her struggle, and I loved how Becky resolved this. Then Corbin’s struggle of not really knowing if God was present in his life, and seeing how He was there, in all the moments, quietly working, was a great reminder that God does work. He may work slowly (from our point of view) or silently, but He is always, always at work in our lives.

I loved the mystery aspect of this story. Charlotte was a great character, and I definitely want to see more of her in the future.

This story ended with a hint at what was coming next—Britt’s story, which I am beyond excited for! What I love about Becky Wade’s books is that she’s able to bring it all. A great plot, unique characters, sweet romance, and a grounding in spiritual truths.

About the Author

Becky Wade is a native of California who attended Baylor University, met and married a Texan, and now lives in Dallas. A favorite among readers of Christian contemporary romance, Becky has won a Christy Award, a Carol Award, an Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, and an INSPY Award. Learn more at www.beckywade.com .

(Biography from Bethany House)

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

The Love Letter

The Love Letter

By Rachel Hauck

The Story

Romance has never been actress Chloe Daschle’s forte—in life or on screen. But everyone knows who to call for a convincing death scene . . . and it might be killing her career.

When Chloe is given a peek at the script for an epic love story, she decides to take her destiny into her own hands and request an audition for the lead female role, Esther Kingsley. The compelling tale, inspired by family lore and a one-page letter from the colonial ancestor of scriptwriter Jesse Gates, just might break her out of this career-crippling rut. Jesse would rather write about romance than live through it after his past relationship ended in disaster. But once on-set together, the chemistry between Jesse and his leading lady is hard to deny.

Centuries earlier, in the heart of the Revolutionary War, Hamilton Lightfoot and Esther Longfellow wrote their saga off the silver screen. Esther’s Loyalist father opposes any relationship with Hamilton, but Esther must face her beloved father’s disapproval and the dangers of war in order to convince Hamilton of their future together. Hamilton has loved Esther for years, and on the eve of battle pens the love letter she’s always wanted—something straight from the heart.

(Back cover summary from Netgalley)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Love Letter is a split-time novel that follows the lives of strong, unique, and flawed characters.

I loved Hamilton and Esther’s story. It was intriguing reading how a young couple might handle the American Revolution and the trials it brought during their time. As they strive to hold onto each other and their love, they learn about themselves and the God who holds it all together. It was intriguing to watch how Rachel Hauck resolved their story.

I enjoyed Chloe and Jesse’s story, but I couldn’t get on board with it as much as the historical one. Chloe seemed rather overdramatic. However, I liked watching these two characters grow more. Their growth was more measured and I felt like I connected with that more than Hamilton and Esther.

I enjoyed this novel, but it didn’t grip me as many have this year.

About the Author

Rachel Hauck is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author. She is a Christy Award Winner and a double RITA finalist. Her book The Wedding Dress was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times Book Club. She is also the recipient of RT’s Career Achievement Award. A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, and a former sorority girl, Rachel and her husband live in central Florida. She is a huge Buckeyes football fan. Visit her at http://www.rachelhauck.com or www.facebook.com/rachelhauck.

(Biography from Amazon)

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

Just Let Go

Just Let Go

By Courtney Walsh

The Story

For Quinn Collins, buying the flower shop in downtown Harbor Pointe fulfills a childhood dream, but also gives her the chance to stick it to her mom, who owned the store before skipping town twenty years ago and never looking back. Completing much-needed renovations, however, while also competing for a prestigious flower competition with her mother as the head judge, soon has Quinn in over her head. Not that she’d ever ask for help.

Luckily, she may not need to. Quinn’s father and his meddling friends find the perfect solution in notorious Olympic skier Grady Benson, who had only planned on passing through the old-fashioned lakeside town. But when a heated confrontation leads to property damage, helping Quinn as a community-service sentence seems like the quickest way out—and the best way to avoid more negative press.

Quinn finds Grady reckless and entitled; he thinks she’s uptight and too regimented. Yet as the two begin to hammer and saw, Quinn sees glimpses of the vulnerability behind the bravado, and Grady learns from her passion and determination, qualities he seems to have lost along the way. But when a well-intentioned omission has devastating consequences, Grady finds himself cast out of town—and Quinn’s life—possibly forever. Forced to face the hurt holding her back, Quinn must finally let go or risk missing out on the adventure of a lifetime.

(Back cover summary from Tyndale Publishers)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Just Let Go is another literary masterpiece from Courtney Walsh. The cover reflects the detail and beauty of this novel.

Quinn is someone who is very much in control. Grady likes to skirt on the edges of control, teetering on the brink. They’re polar opposite in many ways, so when they’re forced together, sparks naturally fly. I loved both of these characters. I identified with Quinn a lot, as someone who likes order, who has a plan, and ideas for how to get that done. As she changed, grew, and learned, I felt as if I was part of that journey and process. At the beginning, Grady’s flaws are as real and front and center as many of ours, but I thought Courtney Walsh did a great job of balancing his character out. He’s not a perfect hero, and that’s what makes him so great for this story.

Just Let Go explores past mistakes and wrongs done to us and looks at whether those are worth hanging on to. It takes a look at the grace of God and delves into messy family relationships.

Per usual, I loved Courtney’s latest, and can’t recommend it enough.

About the Author

Courtney Walsh is a novelist, artist, theatre director, and playwright. Just Let Go will be her eighth inspirational romance novel. Her debut, A Sweethaven Summer, hit the New York Times and USA Today e-book bestseller lists and was a Carol Award finalist in the debut author category. A creative at heart, Courtney has also written two craft books and several full-length musicals. She lives in Illinois with her husband and three children. Visit her online at www.courtneywalshwrites.com.

(Biography from Tyndale)

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.