Joint Venture by Elizabeth Maddrey Copyright and reprinted with author’s permission:
Friends. Business Partners. Lovers
Laura Willis is busy planning her wedding to Ryan when she catches him cheating. Again. This time with her best friend. She throws her fist, and her ring, in his face and immerses herself in work at Brenda’s House of Hair. But the salon is awash in drama too as Brenda cuts corners and goes on a rampage.
Laura’s coworker hairstylist, Matt Stephenson, is searching for other employment options and a new place to live. Deciding to take a risk, he determines to open his own salon and invites Laura to partner with him. Can their friendship survive the undertaking or will this joint venture be more than either of them bargained for?
my point of view:
This book is actually a prequel to the Grant Us Grace series, and I highly recommend reading it! It takes place several years before the other books, but gives a great background for the whole series. The other books in the series have been great, I still have one book left to read, but the Joint Venture characters are in the other books I have already read, so I absolutely loved reading this prequel.
I feel so lucky to have found Elizabeth Maddrey, her books are definitely faith based, and have great, heart felt romance in them, but she is also not afraid to write about topics that are difficult for most people.
There is a lot of pain and insecurity when it comes to being cheated on. A person feels like It must be their fault, even if it is not, when their significant other strays outside of the relationship. This can cause someone to keep trying to exam themselves to figure out where they “went wrong” and can really mess with your head and heart, believe me, I am speaking from experience here.
Laura and Matt are great characters and I loved them from the very first! It’s great to start a book where you like both the hero and heroine right away and can root for them to come together. There are many Christian fiction romances where one (or both) of the main characters must struggle through a lack of faith situation, but that is not the case in Joint Venture. Both Matt and Laura are firmly secure in their trust of God, which is refreshing for a novel in this genre.
Laura has a lot of issues to deal with besides a cheating ex fiancé, she has a meddling and somewhat manipulative mother (I can so relate) plus a new business she is starting from the ground up. So when she starts to have feelings for her best friend and new business partner, it really throws her for a loop.
Elizabeth Maddrey takes us all on a woderful journey of healing, dealing and forgiveness. I, for one, take away a feeling of being a better person for having read this book!
About the author:
Elizabeth Maddrey is a semi-reformed computer geek and homeschooling mother of two who loves a good happily ever after.
She began writing stories as soon as she could form the letters properly and has never looked back. Though her practical nature and love of computers, math, and organization steered her into computer science at Wheaton College, she always had one or more stories in progress to occupy her free time. This continued through a Master’s program in Software Engineering, several years in the computer industry, teaching programming at the college level, and a Ph.D. in Computer Technology in Education. When she isn’t writing, Elizabeth is a voracious consumer of books and has mastered the art of reading while undertaking just about any other activity.
She lives in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. with her husband and their two incredibly active little boys.
You can find Elizabeth’s books on Amazon:
Elizabeth has graciously offered to have a free ~*Giveaway*~ to one of our blog members!! Simply comment on this post to be entered to receive the ebook from Elizabeth Maddrey! Giveaway is open for seven days from today and will be notified via email!
His Father’s Son by Autumn Macarthur, reprinted with author’s permission:
When former bad boy Luke Tanner discovers the son he believed was adopted is fatherless, he’s determined to help – and regain the trust of the only woman he’s ever loved. But for Anna Harrison, his return to Sweetapple Falls is twelve years too late. She can’t risk Luke breaking their disabled son’s heart like he did hers. If they’re to become the loving family Luke wants them to be, she’ll need to forgive secrets from his troubled past he’s never revealed. God has given Luke a second chance, but will Anna?
my point of view:
This is a powerful story of forgiveness and enduring life’s painful struggles. Anna and Luke were only teens when their son Josh was conceived. While Luke wanted to make thigs right and get married, Anna’s father convinced her they were much too young to make it work. So a vulnerable Anna gave in to her father and Luke disappeared from their lives. Now twelve years later, Luke returns when he learns Anna kept their son, and that his son is disabled.
Both Luke and Anna have several issues they need to work though, with themselves and each other. For each of them, learning to trust again is going to take a huge amount of faith – in God and one another.
Autumn Macarthur delves into the realities of being a single parent with the added difficulties of having to raise a son with a serious illness. I loved how Anna has grown from a naive teen into a self reliant woman who struggles with accepting help from anyone on a daily basis. I can so relate to this aspect of her personality! Anna has had to rely on only herself for so long, it is hard to accept the simplest kindness, like even hold her door open! It may be easy for some to have a belief in God, but a whole other story to truly place yourself in God;s hands and have faith that He does indeed know best and has a plan for our lives!
Luke has also had an eventful 12 years apart from Anna and Josh. In his time away he has devoted his life to God and has spent his life helping families in countries where decent housing is a blessing. Now that he has returned to Oregon, he needs to find his way back in this country and how to make a permanent life where he can be the father Josh needs, and win Anna’s love once more so they can be a true family.
Josh has an amazing attitude and sense of humor for a seriously ill child, but he also has his childish outbursts. Autumn does an amazing job of portraying such a sensitive situation and Josh’s antic will make you smile, laugh, and cry throughout the story!
About the author:
Autumn Macarthur is a USA Today bestselling author of Christian inspirational romance. Originally from Australia, she now lives near London with her very English husband and a variable number of spoiled rescue cats, after a one-year working holiday turned into twenty years!
She loves writing deeply emotional stories to make you smile and remind you how big and wide and deep God’s love and forgiveness can be. She’s thankful to be blessed with good friends and a patient husband. Most of all, she’s eternally grateful for God’s great love and mercy.
When she’s not writing or being a cat slave, she spends far too much time on Facebook. She’d love to hear from you!
You can find out more about Autumn’s books on her website: http://faithhopeandheartwarming.com/
Autumn has graciously offered to have a free ~*Giveaway*~ to one of our blog members!! Simply comment on this post to be entered to receive the ebook from Autumn Macarthur!!
I am so thrilled to have Alexa Verde sit down with me for coffee today so we can all get to know her a little bit more! Plus, Alexa has a graciously offered ANOTHER free ebook! One randomly chosen commenter will be selected to win a copy of Rapsodia – part of the Tuscany Legacy series! See below for details!!
Alexa, from reviewing your online Bio, I see that you speak five languages, and I find that amazing! Can you tell me what they are and how that came about?
First of all, it’s my pleasure to be here, and thank you so much for the invite! As for languages, I speak Russian, Belorussian, Spanish, English, and German, though I’m starting to forget German. Two of them are my native languages. I studied German because I hoped to visit Germany, and I did, twice. Since moving to south Texas I discovered that a lot of people here speak Spanish but not English. I love studying languages, so I decided to learn Spanish. And if I was going to study Spanish, I figured I might as well get a degree in it.
So, I understand you can be quite the chef. What is your favorite meal to prepare for others?
I love writing about food, but I’m far from being a chef! Yes, I used to cook a lot, but not anymore. If I still did… I really enjoyed making salads, and I know a great variety of them!
Which was your favorite country to visit and why?
So far, I’ve been to France, Poland, Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine, and other countries. Germany remains one of my favorite places to visit. It’s a very beautiful country with amazing history. I loved walking cobblestone pedestrian streets (no cars allowed!) in Alte Stadt (“old town”), watching minstrels, noble women, jugglers (okay, people dressed like them) at the Katharinenmarkt in a small town Hoya (just like centuries ago!), enjoying the Rhine river cruise, taking pictures of castles… Not to mention great food, especially cakes!
I am sure you get asked this all the time, but people want to know – what inspires your writing and characters?
I hope I can say that God inspires me. If my books bring somebody joy and encouragement, to God be all the glory!
What is your favorite “cure” for writer’s block, or don’t you ever have that issue?
I usually just don’t have enough time for writing! I’d say, listen to music and let your imagination carry you away in a different world…
When is your favorite time of the day and what is your place to write?
I love writing in bed, but it’s not always possible. Frankly, I don’t have favorite time of the day to write. I write whenever I have a chance, mostly on the weekends.
Do you ever get “too attached” to your characters? And if so, do you want to share which one?
Oh yes, I get very attached to my characters! That’s why my secondary characters often show up as main characters in my future books, and vice versa. It’s so difficulty to say good-bye to them!
How can your fans keep in touch with you and all your new releases, etc?
Anyone can subscribe to my newsletter! In my newsletters, you will get my book news and special offers. You can unsubscribe at any time. The link is:
Finally – Coffee or tea? Cream? Sugar?
Both! I like cold sweet tea. And coffee with cream, no sugar is a must. Got to have that energy kick! So I love the name “Coffee with Paula” (and some chocolate donuts wouldn’t hurt). Thank you for the coffee and the conversation, Paula! I had a great time, and I hope your blog readers will enjoy this interview.
Haha, okay, I will try to remember the donuts next time! Thank you so much, Alexa, for joining me and being so open with your answers! It is always a pleasure to get to spend time with you!
Please take a moment to read all about Rapsodia and comment below to enter to win an ebook copy of it! Contest will be open through June 20, 2018 at 6PM!
A risk taker with a crushed spirit and a control-addicted businessman with a crushed heart… Can they surrender themselves to God’s healing love?
After the woman he loved left him for a richer guy, Marco Carter turned all his passion toward the chain of pizzerias he founded. He can control his business, unlike love. Then his world is turned upside down. He meets Samantha Jenkins on his flight home to Texas after his grandmother’s eightieth birthday. Many hours with the guarded but beautiful Samantha has him questioning his career-centered mindset.
A born risk taker and fiercely independent, Samantha misses her former life as a travel photographer and extreme sports aficionado. But more than anything, she grieves her fiancé. On her trip from Italy on the anniversary of his tragic passing, the last thing she expects is to become drawn to her neighbor on her flight. Deep inside, she still blames herself for her fiancé’s death…
Though Marco is determined to forget Samantha, the arrival of a mysterious painting reminds him of all that is missing in his life. Hoping for a new chance with her, Marco opens a pizzeria in Samantha’s hometown in south Texas. Spending time with her, he’s learning to surrender control to the Lord. But apparently it’s easier to earn millions than to make Samantha open her heart again. What will it take for her to heal enough to trust in God and take the biggest risk of all-to love again?
Magnolia Storms by Janet Ferguson Reprinted with authors permission, Copyright by Janet Ferguson
Maggie Marovich couldn’t save her father or her home from Hurricane Katrina, but she’s dedicated her life to meteorology so she can warn others when the monster storms approach. Except…she works three hours inland and rarely risks returning to her childhood hometown of Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Both her single-parent sister and the ship pilot Maggie once loved refused to leave the Coast, despite Maggie’s requests. Now a hurricane’s headed toward Mississippi, and Maggie’s sister is seriously injured, leaving Maggie little choice but to head south—into the storm.
The water and tides flow through Josh Bergeron’s veins, and he can’t imagine giving up piloting—even for the love of his life, the infuriating Magnolia Marovich. He tried to move on without her, marrying and having a child. But after his wife abandons him and his little boy, his career choice is threatened by the weight of his parental responsibilities. Moving next door to Maggie’s sister and sharing their child care seems like the perfect set-up. Until Maggie blows back into town.
Being forced to lean on Josh for help washes up the wreckage in Maggie’s faith. Where was God during the destruction of Katrina? Why do some prayers seem to go unanswered? Between the hurricane looming in the Gulf and another gale raging in her heart, can Maggie overcome her past and find the trust to truly live?
my point of view:
Janet Ferguson takes us on a personal journey, drawing on her own experiences for the back drop of Magnolia Storms. This is an amazing story of how devastating the damage was on the coast of Mississippi from Hurricane Katrina.
Magnolia Marovich blames all her family’s problems since 2005 on the most devastating event to ever occur for them – Hurricane Katrina. Maggie’s heart was broken in the devastation Katrina brought upon the Coast of Mississippi, not only losing their family home, but her father was lost at sea trying to perform a rescue during the storm.
Maggie never fully recovered from her family’s losses. Now having to face all the painful memories, including her lost love, Josh, it is going to take all of Maggie’s strength and will power to get through this next phase of her life.
How does one learn to lean on God’s saving grace and trust in the Lord again in the midst of so much chaos? Not only is a storm heading their way, but her sister’s injuries are severe and Maggie must also care for her neice, her aunt’s business, and Josh’s little boy, all while trying not fall hopelessly in love with the three year old, and his father all over again.
I truly loved this story and could tell it came straight from the author’s heart. I am, admittedly, a product of the news media – and I never knew the devastation was so great in the Mississippi coastal area, as all I ever saw was the terrible situation the people from New Orleans were going through. I learned an awful lot from reading this story, and that is something I love to take away from a book along with the “feel good – warm and fuzzies”!
One of my favorite themes is second chance love stories, so Maggie and Josh’s rediscovery of one another was near and dear to my heart. I am also a big fan of the single parent, I love when children are involved, and Magnolia Storms gives us a double dose with three year old, JD, Josh’s son and ten year old, Dahlia, Maggie’s niece involved so deeply in the novel. I adored Maggie’s devotion to her family and doing whatever needs to be done in the face of adversity. I found a lot of my own past traits in Maggie as well – needing to handle everything on my own! I was an extremely stubborn person for many years, believing I could only rely on myself to get things done, Maggie has to learn to give up control to God once and for all and depend on the ‘kindness of strangers’ in order to truly be able to take care of her loved ones to the best of her ability.
I will definitely be re-reading this one, especially since this is the first installment of Janet Ferguson’s newest series – Coastal Hearts. I have read all of Janet’s Southern Hearts series, and enjoyed each of them in their own right, as well!
About the author:
Janet W. Ferguson grew up in Mississippi and received a degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Mississippi. She has served as a children’s minister and a church youth volunteer. An avid reader, she worked as a librarian at a large public high school. She writes humorous inspirational fiction for people with real lives and real problems. Janet and her husband have two grown children, one really smart dog, and a few cats that allow them to share the space.
To purchase your own copy of Magnolia Storms, you can click on the link below:
Persuaded by Andrea Boyd. Reprinted with author’s copyright and permission:
Eighteen years ago, Felicity Sutton made the biggest mistake of her life when she broke off her engagement to Jaylon Briggs. Her father had pointed out that a year after graduating high school Jay still didn’t have a steady job, a sure indication that he’d likely never amount to anything. So despite her love for the boy, she ended their relationship and headed to college—to a life that would finally make her father proud. Biggest. Mistake. Of. Her. Life.
After years of hard work, Jaylon Briggs now operates a multi-million dollar shipping enterprise. He’s poured everything into his business, and for what? It all means nothing without the woman he loves by his side, sharing a life together. Some days, he longs to be that teenage boy again. The one with only his beat-up old surf board headed to the beach in a borrowed car, his girl beside him.
Persuaded is a Southern romance loosely based on a Jane Austen classic that shows what can happen when we choose pleasing man over pleasing God.
Here is an excerpt from Persuaded as well:
One pull of a cord and they were flying. Below, the sound of the motor powering the boat as it skidded across the surface of the water competed with the roar of the ocean. Up here, nothing but the gentle flap of the brightly colored parasail above them could be heard.
Felicity looked over at the man beside her. Hands that used to hold hers had a white-knuckle grip on the bar in front of him. And his lips… oh, she remembered the searing kisses those lips had delivered. Right now, they were pressed tightly together.
It wasn’t fear causing his tension. Jaylon Briggs had always been somewhat of a daredevil. Parasailing didn’t rank high on the list of stunts he had no doubt pulled. How could he still be angry with her after all these years? Eighteen of them, to be exact. She remembered the breakup like it was yesterday, and apparently, he did too.
Even though she had truly loved him, she had been the one to end their relationship. Would he ever forgive her?
His sister was to blame for this awkward situation. Caleigh usually played the part of friend except when it came to her brother. No way had Jay known Felicity was coming on this trip when Caleigh invited him. This was a perfect opportunity to rub it in Felicity’s face what she had given up—like she didn’t already know.
“Caleigh tells me you are back to working in your dad’s old shop now.”
Of course she did.
Despite the politeness of his words, they were full of venom. For one thing, no one had ever referred to her father as dad. Everyone called him Pappy, including Jay. Pappy had been the one to influence the breakup. He had been the one to push her into going to college to make something of herself. Had even planned out her career trajectory. And now she was back in her hometown, working in a shaved ice hut turned coffee shop.
Boy, Pappy’s plan worked out great, didn’t it?
All those eighteen years ago, Pappy had pointed out that though Jay had graduated high school a year ahead of her, he had never held a real job, nor did he have any plans to go to college.
Jay had used the excuse that he had been waiting for her to graduate so they could start a life together. He would take a menial job working in his uncle’s shipping yard down the coast in Charleston after they married, but he swore he’d make it big one day.
Evidently, his lofty dreams had come true, minus the part about her being at his side. Every time the opportunity presented itself, Caleigh would bring up the fact that Jaylon owned a successful shipping business. Apparently, she was also keeping her brother informed on what a failure Felicity had become.
“Pappy had a stroke a couple of years ago. I moved back home to take care of him.”
“I heard about that. And he still needs your help?”
Felicity looked out over the choppy, gray ocean beneath them. It neared as they were being reeled back into the boat. Jaylon always did know how to cut to the core of every issue. Truthfully, Pappy probably no longer needed her, but she had no desire to go back to the life she had before. “No, but I’ve decided to stay anyway.”
Silence prevailed again as they were drawn back into the boat to join the rest of their group. Besides Caleigh and her husband, Dalvin, two more had come along on this adventure. Vivian Emerson, who had recently moved to Walden Beach, and Bo Manning.
Bo put his arm around Felicity’s shoulder as soon as she was released from the harness. “How was it?”
Jay looked their way for a moment and then walked over to lean against the boat railing. Did he think she and Bo were a couple? They never had been but were often mistaken for such. The two usually paired up together whenever they went out as a group. She had expected to be Bo’s partner today, but ever since Vivian moved to town, his attention had been focused on her. Not that Felicity minded. She and Bo were always meant to be nothing more than friends.
She smiled up at him, glad for the friendship he offered. “It was great.”
Bo squeezed her shoulder and then moved away to take his turn at parasailing. Felicity doubted he was aware of her and Jaylon’s past relationship, unless Caleigh or Dalvin had mentioned it. She hadn’t known Bo back then, and there was no use bringing it up now.
She and Jay would never go back to what they were—two people so in tune with each other, so much in love, that the only next step should have been marriage. After all these years of separation, she still felt a connection to him somehow. But the bitterness he displayed today let her know that he didn’t feel the same way.
After everyone had gone up and the boat delivered them back to the shore, they discussed where they would go to eat later in the evening. Hidden behind a pair of sunglasses, it was easy to look her fill at Jay without anyone being the wiser. He wasn’t the lanky teenager anymore. Muscles stretched the fabric of his blue t-shirt across his chest and upper arms. His hair was a darker shade of auburn. And the manly stubble on his face had filled out from the adolescent beard he’d tried to grow back in high school.
“I’m afraid I’ll have to miss out on dinner. I’ve already made plans.” Jaylon’s declaration was unsurprising—and a relief. They had managed to avoid each other for the last two years since she’d been home. Caleigh usually mentioned an upcoming visit from her brother, making avoidance easy for Felicity. But that would no longer be necessary. The ice was broken, at least. The difficulty of seeing each other again had been lessened even if her regrets had not.
my point of view
This is Andrea Boyd’s second novel in the Walton Beach series, and if you have not yet read “Irresistibly Yours”, you should! It does not need to be read before Persuaded, but you will find Felicity there and some cross over, as well as an update into Vivian and Bo’s relationship. I enjoyed the first one so much; I could not wait for the next in the series to come out! Andrea Boyd credits Jane Austin’s “Persuasion” for the inspiration of this novel, and there are definite similarities in “Persuaded”.
The theme of second chance for love is one I have always been a fan of, no matter the circumstances behind the separation. But, Andrea takes things a few steps out of the norm, not only has the couple been apart for 18 long years, but their relationship ended due to Felicity’s father’s interference, which also broker her heart. Jaylon knows that her ‘pappy’ was behind it all those years ago, but he is still understandably bitter where Felicity is concerned. Pappy’s reason’s for pushing Felicity to further her education and not ‘settle’ for the poor kid from the wrong side of the tracks becomes clear before the book is completed, but the journey this novel takes you on has several turns, a setback or two, humor, angst and is certainly an emotional rollercoaster read!
That being said, I enjoyed it a great deal, even when I wanted to reach through the pages and shake some sense into Felicity’s family members, and Felicity herself a time or two! This story had me punching my fist on the couch and groaning at times, with the way Felicity allows her family to run her everyday life. It also had me literally laughing out loud because Andrea brings humor to the story as well!
I was smitten with Jaylon, certainly, as he finds himself amidst all his hard earned money, and yet not happy. The steps he takes to try and ‘create’ what he thinks his happy life should look like is quite an expedition for him!
One of my favorite part about Andrea’s writing is how she takes a more mature couple and makes them relatable to anyone. By mature, I mean they are not your average 20 something lovebirds, but people who have had struggles, relationships and a past, but still find a way to create a future all while keeping God as the focus throughout the story. All of the characters in this novel are very real and authentic to me, from the selfish sisters to the overbearing father; even the best friend of Jaylon’s who is star struck at the wealth his old friend has attained.
I also love that at the heart of all of it God’s love and glory throughout the story. We all have struggles to deal with, whether it’s family members, or the ability to stand up to them in a respectful way, Andrea shows how always keeping God first, we can accomplish anything we put our hearts and minds to.
About the author:
Each of Andrea Boyd’s series represents a different genre but all fall into the category of romance. All offer an element of her own brand of humor. And all are a tribute to God.
Besides writing, she loves spending time with her family, quilting, going to car shows, and driving around in her 1968 Barracuda convertible.
Andrea lives with her husband, Tommy, and at least a couple of cats in York County, SC.
You can find Andrea here:
Facebook (page)- https://www.facebook.com/andreaboyd11/?ref=bookmarks
Andrea Boyd has been so kind as to offer one lucky winner a free ebook version of Persuaded via Instafreebie! Just comment on this review and you will be entered to win! Contest will end at midnight, June 10, 2018. Winner will be emailed with the link!
River of Danger by Alexa Verde Review and a ~*GIVEAWAY*~
Reprinted here with permission from the copyrighted author, Alexa Verde:
Dallas reporter River Montenegro returns to her hometown, Rios Azules, in south Texas to aid her father, a constantly recovering alcoholic. After the notorious Smiling Killer strikes close to her home — and her own neck, River grudgingly accepts help from her childhood friend and first love, who unknowingly crushed her heart.
When his formerly awkward school buddy is being stalked and attacked, local newspaper editor and town favorite Jacob Forrester decides to protect River. Falling for River, who blossomed into a confident, beautiful woman, Jacob is also eager to take their friendship to a different level. But River always made it clear she wouldn’t stick around.
Scarred and scared, River has fled to the big city lights once. But she’s stronger now. The homegrown killer better be prepared because not all Rivers run…
Secrets of Rios Azules Series: welcome to Rios Azules, a small Texas town where rivers and emotions run deep, and secrets are deadly.
my point of view
This book is actually the prequel to the Secrets of Rios Azules series, and it sure sets the reader up for the suspense that prevails throughout all of the stories I have read in the series so far (as of this writing I am on number 4)! I have mostly been a reader of “just romantic” Christian fiction, and was never a huge fan of the suspense genre….but that has since changed, thanks to Alexa Verde! I am a new reader of a lot of Alexa’s books and up until River of Danger, had only read her Seasons series, both of which take place in this small Southern Texas town, Rios Azules.
The character of River Montenegro is complex in so many ways! She was an awkward teen with a huge crush on Jacob Forrester; she suffered from being abandoned by her mother, and grew up taking care of an alcoholic father who couldn’t take care of himself, on top of being the “gawky” teenager no one wanted to be friends with.
That is, until the Danger Girls come together. A group of ‘misfit’ girls in need of acceptance and a sense of belonging, they band together to become their own family and lifelong friends. I have always enjoyed stories that have ‘friends for family’ theme within them. Having grown up an only child, my cousins and close friends were my closest confidants.
River also lives with the fact she is a teenage victim who was terrorized in her own home, and now she has reason to believe that her attacker has turned into a serial killer that has been striking women down all over Dallas. Could she have been his first victim? The only one that has survived so far? As an investigative reporter, she takes on the responsibility of finding and stopping this killer once and for all. She plans to keep the Danger Girls safe by trying not to involve them and the same goes for Jacob, the boy – now man – she has always loved, but he only ever wanted her friendship.
Jacob has his own issues to deal with, still mourning the loss of his baby sister, and now trying to renew his friendship with River, a girl who was always his best friend. Only now in protecting River, he has discovered deeper feeling for her that he must learn to keep from her since she plans on leaving their hometown as soon as the killer is found. Can Jacob find his faith in God again all the while keeping River safe from harm only to leave him again in the end?
This amazing book has so many twists and turns and unexpected happenings that it is hard to put down! I found myself on the edge of me seat at times and reading as fast as I could to get to the next ‘calmer’ scene! Though I love the reunited love theme, this is more of a reunited friendship that turns into a more serious relationship they could have never have had as teenagers. Throughout the entire book, Alexa Verde always keeps the one true relationship we all crave and need in our lives – faith in God – first, as it should always be. Honestly, I truly enjoyed this start of the Secrets of Rios Azules, and am reading everyone I can get my hands on, so keep them coming, Alexa Verde!
About the author:
Alexa Verde writes sweet, wholesome books about faith, love, and murder. She penned her first literary masterpiece, a rhymed poem, at the ripe age of eight, and since has had 200 short stories, articles, and poems published in the five languages that she speaks. She has bachelor’s degrees in English and Spanish, a master’s in Russian, and enjoys writing about characters with diverse cultures. She can claim her 15 seconds of Amazon fame with her books climbing to the #1 spot in Hispanic American and #3 in Christian Mystery & Suspense. She’s worn the hats of reporter, teacher, translator, model (even one day counts!), caretaker, and secretary, but thinks that the writer’s hat suits her the best. After traveling the world and living in both hemispheres, she calls a small town in south Texas home. The latter is an inspiration for the fictional setting of her popular series Secrets of Rios Azules. For giveaways (Russian souvenirs are the next), news, and recipes, please sign up for her newsletter at www.alexaverde.com. Twitter: @AlexaVerde3. Facebook: www.facebook.com/alexaverdeauthor.com
Now, how would YOU like to win an ebook copy of River of Danger for yourself, or any one of Alexa Verde’s ebooks? One randomly chosen person that comments on this post will receive the ebook of their choice from Alexa Verde! Ebooks will be gifted via BookFunnel. Giveaway is open for seven days from today and will be notified via email!
my point of view
This is Valerie’s (official) final book in the Arcadia Valley Romance series and I was terribly sad to see it end! That being said, she really pulls all the books of the series together for this one and makes it quite enjoyable to see all the previous characters from Sow In Love, Sprouts Of Love and Rooted In Love! If you have read the entire Arcadia Valley Romance series you will also recognize people and places from the other authors that have participated in creating this wonderful town! There is also a hidden treasure for Farm Fresh and Urban Farm Fresh readers!!
Kenia Akers was first introduced to readers in Sow in Love as Grady’s younger sister. When we met her she was an ally to Joanna and Grady and their relationship. Now Kenia is seeing all her friends and loved ones getting married and growing in their relationships while she still remains single. After a failed attempt to try and fall in love with Jonah Baxter, Kenia breaks up with him the day before the Valentine’s night benefit concert for the Bigby lavender farm so she attends all alone.
It’s here she first encounters Zane Russell. Zane is immediately attracted to the beautiful woman with orange hair and sad eyes…but he has his own issues to deal with…….even so, he asks his roommate about her and finds out she runs the local bookstore, so not in his favor!
I love when Zane gets up the courage to meet Kenia and try to start a relationship with her, even knowing there’s no chance a book lover is going to want anything to do with him!
After she puts the brakes on anything more than friends, they find themselves falling for each other anyway as they plan outing for the residents of Retro Village, including Clarence Akers, Kenia’s granddad. With the youngsters in daycare at the greenhouses, the elderly residents of Retro Village join forces in starting seedlings and nurturing plants, flowers and vegetables throughout the growing season. I just adore this aspect of the novel, as when you bring children and the elderly together amazing things happen for both age groups!
Zane and Kenia’s story explores the struggles we have when we think of ourselves as not being good enough. Everyone has challenges in their lives, some more so than others, but being able to overcome them through our Faith in Jesus is an awesome testament to the love of God.
I truly enjoyed walking through Valerie Comer’s take on a serious affliction which makes everyday life complicated in ways most of us will never comprehend. As always, Mrs. Comer does amazing background research and brings her own personal touch to the characters as only she can.
Here is an excerpt from Chapter 1, copyright by Valerie Comer, 2018 and reprinted with author’s permission:
Kenia Akers shifted from one foot to the other at the back of the huge Bigby barn. She shouldn’t have come to the benefit concert, but it had seemed even more lame to stay home on Valentine’s Day when she’d been planning to attend for weeks. She’d dumped Jonah yesterday, but that was no reason to let her ticket go to waste. Maybe he’d use his for a bookmark… if he even had time to read since he was obviously pursuing Gloria Sinclair again. Jerk.
Wasn’t it just Kenia’s luck? Meet an adorable guy like Jonah Baxter on Christmas Eve, be wooed with whirlwind dates, only to discover he was still in love with someone else on February thirteenth?
She should’ve waited until after the concert to send him packing. At least she would have had one perfect Valentine’s Day to remember. She’d have been here on the arm of one of the cutest, sweetest men she’d ever met instead of solo with half the town wondering about the demise of her short romance.
Kenia choked back a snort and tipped her chin up. Right. A perfect Valentine’s Day, knowing he loved someone else?
On stage, Cole Anderson stood alone in the spotlight with his guitar as the elderly granny who’d sung the last song with him made her way down the steps and into the hushed audience. The spotlight divided, part of it coming to rest on Allie Bigby, the beneficiary of tonight’s concert and silent auction. It sure stunk that Allie’s lavender barn had burned down early Christmas morning. Then there’d been some glitch with her insurance. Arcadia Valley had pulled together to help raise the funds for rebuilding.
The mood shifted in the barn in that one long moment as Cole gazed down at Allie and Allie gazed back, her lips slightly parted and her eyes shining.
No way. There was only one thing that could be coming next, and it wasn’t something Kenia wanted to witness. She pivoted for the door, only to discover she was blocked in by a wall of bodies. “Excuse me, please,” she whispered once, twice, ten times as she edged toward the cold wintry night.
Cole’s voice pushed into Kenia’s consciousness. “Allie told me she loved me today, and I think you all know I love her, too.”
Freedom beckoned from two people away. Kenia ducked between them, but one shifted and she connected with a hard elbow to her shoulder, spinning her sideways.
A warm hand caught her arm, steadying her, as startled eyes swung to meet hers. “I’m sorry. I didn’t see you there.”
Kenia stared into the gorgeous eyes of the man a few inches from her and tried to remember her words. His brown hair in need of a cut and his scruffy chin in need of a shave gave him a bad-boy image, unlike Jonah, Mr. Perfect.
On stage, Cole began singing a love song.
Immeasurably better than a proposal, but no doubt one was coming. This song was only a reprieve but, knowing Cole and Allie’s history, he’d had years — decades — of unrequited love to pen at least twenty-five stanzas.
That didn’t mean she should stand here like she’d been struck by lightning staring at a total stranger until Cole’s final strum.
“Excuse me, please.” Too bad she couldn’t muster anything other than a breathless whisper.
A grin crinkled his face and warmed those eyes just as the heat of his hand left her arm.
Kenia yanked her gaze away and pushed open the barn door. Outside, icy air chilled her heated cheeks as she dashed across the crowded parking area to her car. A motion sensor blinked a light into action, cutting the view of the smattering of stars that bravely attempted illumination of the dark night.
With shaking hands, Kenia stuffed the key in her ignition, started her Ford Fiesta, and drove away from Bigby Farm. Whew. At least she’d missed the proposal. Sure, she was happy for Allie. She’d known the woman since high school. If anyone deserved to find true love and happiness, it was Allie.
Only… why not Kenia? Why had she wasted six weeks dating a man who couldn’t stop dreaming about another woman? There’d been niggles of doubt, but she’d ignored them. She’d known Jonah’d had a thing for Gloria Sinclair for several years, but it had never gone anywhere. Kenia hadn’t thrown herself at him. He’d been the one to invite her to his brother’s wedding. He’d been the one to hold her close while they danced, who’d kissed her, albeit briefly, at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s. He’d been the one who’d invited her to his family dinners, cooked her amazing meals, and snuggled her while they watched movies.
She hadn’t dreamed all that. He’d been the one pursuing her. Hadn’t he?
Okay, maybe his kisses had lacked passion, but that had been welcome after Damian who’d groped her on their first and only date. Passion would build as their relationship developed and, one day, he’d ask her to marry him. She’d become Kenia Baxter. There’d be total fireworks by then.
Or not. She should’ve seen it coming. Should have, but hadn’t. Not until yesterday when Gloria entered A Slice of Heaven, the bakery run by the Baxter family, and caught Kenia kissing Jonah. He’d been distracted. He’d made donuts for Gloria — expected her — and Kenia could tell he hoped she hadn’t figured that out. He’d called Gloria when his sister had been rushed to the hospital to save the life of her unborn baby. Not Kenia. No, she found out accidentally, after the fact.
Having those blinders ripped off had been painful, but she had to hold her head up high in the community. Arcadia Valley was small, and everyone knew everyone else’s business. Kenia managed Page Turners, her aunt’s bookstore, so escaping town wasn’t an option. The only salve she’d been able to muster had been breaking up with Jonah before he broke up with her.
She’d brought the basket of books and the Page Turners gift certificate out to the benefit concert as promised, ready to tell anyone who noticed she was alone that she’d called it off with Jonah. She hadn’t expected to be required to witness Cole Anderson proposing to Allie Bigby.
That guy in the back of the barn. Who was he? Not a reader, or she’d have seen him in the book-store… unless he was one of those who preferred e-books or bought his paperbacks online. She shuddered. Maybe he was a friend of Cole’s from out of town, just visiting for the concert. Probably that was it. A better thought than him not being a reader or not supporting the local bookstore.
Kenia pulled into the parking spot in front of her small cottage. She’d never see him again. That was fine. She needed time for her broken heart to mend.
To keep reading, you can get your copy from your favorite vendor here:
About Valerie Comer:
Valerie Comer’s life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary Christian romance. Like many of her characters, Valerie grows much of her own food and is active in the local foods movement as well as her church. She only hopes her imaginary friends enjoy their happily-ever-afters as much as she does hers, shared with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters.
Valerie is a USA Today bestselling author and a two-time Word Award winner. She writes engaging characters, strong communities, and deep faith into her green clean romances.
Running From Monday (Refresh Station Church Series, #1)
by Lea Sims
Copyrighted and reprinted with authors permission
Delaney Anderson is a confident, successful digital media executive living the dream in the heart of Manhattan. She has everything a modern woman could want—husband, home, wealth, connections, and a killer corner office overlooking the city. She’s on track to make vice president in another few years. But Delaney is also a woman with a story, one that’s been locked inside her for most of her life. When that story starts banging to get out, life begins to unravel. A perfunctory marriage leads to an affair with a coworker. A painful and expensive divorce leaves her suddenly uncertain and adrift. When the death of a family member forces her to return home after many years, she gears up for a fight with the ghosts of her past. But she runs head first into the grace of God—in the form of an old family friend, an unexpected church, and a disconcertingly kind man. She receives revelation from an unusual source and finds the courage to speak her truth and drop her chains. Through Delaney, we learn that we all have a story and that letting God redeem that narrative is the only path to a life of purpose.
my point of view
This book should come with a warning label – first and foremost – there will be difficult moments to read through – secondly and most importantly – DO NOT STOP READING.
This is Lea’s first fictional novel, and I must say it is a very powerful story, you just have to get through the first two pages! Seriously, though, the painful beginning is worth reading to get through to the end. The writing is wonderful, and the messages throughout the entire book are heart wrenchingly clear.
I honestly almost put it down after reading the first two pages, but that is not my normal M O and once I discussed my hesitation with Ms. Sims, I decided to keep reading. I thank God I did, as Delaney’s life touched me to the core. I found myself crying emotionally, dredging up some of my own past and issues. There were times I literally had to put the book down and pause reading just to get through my own emotional roller coaster. None of which is a bad thing, in any way!
The way Lea takes us on this journey was so interesting to me, not only does she write from Delaney’s perspective, but you also get the perspective of those around her, from friends, co-workers, and especially the hero of the story, Drew Hemming.
There were a lot of things I found enjoyable in this novel, the church dynamics and ministry of Refresh Station – I would love to find a home church like this one. The church has a very ‘refreshing’ way to reach out to the community and minister to those in need! The pastor is young, the members are a mix of young and more mature leaders that truly have a God First mentality.
The backdrop settings of both New York City (me being a native Jersey Girl) and Savanah, GA, as I have spent a great deal of time in both places. I love the way Lea uses the recognizable areas of both cities to not only make a reader feel the heartbeat of the cities but also the beauty of them even if you have never been there.
All of the secondary characters in the novel have a reason for being a part of the story! Take Lexie – a true NJ Italian girl (um, just like me?) who not only stands by Delaney, but stands up for her friend as well! Then there’s Claire, an old friend of the family who wants to mother Delaney and see her through to the ‘other side’ of her journey. I can’t forget to include Bethany – a young mother going through a difficult divorce. You cannot help but want to cheer for Bethany and see her become all she can be!
These settings and characters all have me looking forward to many more books in this series, so much so, that I returned the free Kindle Unlimited edition of the book and purchased it outright so I will be able to go back to it any time I want and be ready for the next one up in the series!
About the Author:
Lea Sims is an author, teacher and ministry leader living in Jacksonville, FL, who writes Christian fiction books, study guides, and biblical resources designed to help women unlock their personal narratives and find freedom, identity, and purpose in God. A professional writer for 25+ years, she has published books, articles, white papers, and resources in the technology space, and has spent the last 10+ years writing women’s ministry resources for Celebration Church in Jacksonville. A self-declared “ambulance driver for the Kingdom,” Sims has a passion for rescuing women from broken places and seeing them walk out of pain and into their purpose.
Thank you ALL for stopping by! I am excited to start this new adventure in my life!
Being able to talk about the wonderful books in Christian fiction with others who share the same joy and the amazing authors who write them is a lifelong dream of mine! So, what better avenue than a blog focused on nothing but a venue for in depth reviews, author interviews, and back ground stories to these books, and GIVEAWAYS for fans!
This blog will reflect my point of view for posted novels, and I promise they are open, honest and from the bottom of my heart.
There will be interviews with some of my favorite authors, and GIVEAWAYS for the participants whenever I can make them available for you. The best part of my day is when I am able to share with you new books and authors that you fall in love with too!!
There are two books on sale from InspyRomance Authors right now:
Carol Moncado’s Reclaiming Hearts
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