April 15, 2017

Just the Way You Are blog tour + giveaway link


 
Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book



Book: Just the Way You Are

Author: Pepper Basham  

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Single mom, Eisley Barrett, prefers to keep romance safely housed within a centuries-old mystery, but when she travels to England to unearth the secret, an actor with a sordid past offers her reluctant heart a very different type of discovery.
Wes Harrison has a past he’s ashamed to confess. Suspicious and cynical, he’s managed to avoid romantic entanglements since a tragedy upended his career and life, that is until American Eisley Barrett comes along. Her authenticity and kindness upend his bitter assumptions and send his heart into unscripted territory.

When his past threatens to ruin a second chance at love, can some Appalachian matchmaking and letters from the grace salvage their unexpected romance?

My Review


Wow. That is the only word that came to mind when I finished this book. It was so good and I fell in love with all of the characters and was truthfully sad it ended!

I love when authors take their characters and give them such profound development through the pages of the book that you truly feel like you traveled through life with them. I loved the growth I saw in both Wes and Eisley throughout these pages. I loved getting to know them as they learned to trust God and each other. Their constant prayers, Bible study, and ways they encouraged each other were such a breath of fresh air. I loved that they were such realistic characters too with very real pain, regret, and guilt in their lives that they had to learn to overcome. Basham writes some of the best descriptions of characters I’ve ever read too. I truly felt like I was watching a movie as I read these pages because everything was so descriptive. I could see Wes’s style and good-looks and I could imagine Eisley feeling like she didn’t measure up but loved seeing her described through Wes’s eyes. It is truly amazing how words on a page can take you to another place.

Another aspect of this book that I really enjoyed was the two settings. I loved that I got to read about Britain and Appalachia in the same book. It was great to see both characters out of their element for a time. It really made me want to travel to Britain and I can honestly say no book has ever made me feel that way.

But as much as I loved the character development what I loved the most was the romantic relationship. I love it when Christian authors aren’t afraid to keep the romance hot while still keeping it clean. It is great to read a Christian book where the romance is honest enough to admit temptation is there but to also prove that it is possible to keep a relationship pure. This book probably has the best kissing scenes I have ever read. And I loved how many there were too! 

I cannot say enough good things about this book without gushing anymore than I already have. This is definitely a book you do not want to miss. The characters, romance, and scenery will take your breath away.

I received a copy of this book through Celebrate Lit to be a part of their blog tour. All opinions are my own.

About the Author


Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes novels inspired by her love for history and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her Penned in Time series has garnered recognition in the Inspys, Grace Awards, and the ACFW Carol Awards. Her contemporary romance novel, A Twist of Faith, received 4-stars from Romantic Times, and most recently, her newest release, The Thorn Healer, received a Top Pick from RT with 4 ½ stars. Her newest contemporary romance, Just the Way You Are, releases in April 2016. You can get to know Pepper on Facebook, or over at her group blog, The Writer’s Alley, or Instagram
 

Guest post from Pepper Basham

Thank you so much for featuring my newest novel, Just the Way You Are, on CelebrateLit. I am THRILLED to be a part of this and to share a story that is very dear to my heart.  

Just the Way You Are is my first ‘true’ Britallachian romantic comedy. Even though I’ve written comedy in some of my other novels and included elements of both Appalachia and Britain, this one embodies the tag #britallachian to the core. For those of you who’ve read some of my previous books, you know I’m a big fan of my native Blue Ridge Mountains and the Appalachian culture. You may also know that I’m a proud Anglophile.

Those two loves met in Just the Way You Are – and I tossed lots of other things I love best into the mix. What are those ingredients, you might ask?

Well, let me just tell ya! Just the Way You Are is a blend of Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian culture, big (hilarious) family dynamics, matchmaking, Britain, a swoony English hero, a quirky, magnanimous heroine, a bunch of adorable kids, Scooby Doo and Indiana Jones references, lots of humor, a historical mystery, a devious villainess, stately manor houses, secret rooms, love letters, and matchmaking all rolled into one…oh, and did I mention brain-numbing romance?

(Did anyone else feel the need to add “fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, miracles, true love….” From the Princess Bride?) I don’t think I included torture, giants, or monsters in Just the Way You Are…but I may have the other elements in this novel.

Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating about the brain-numbing, but I do have a tendency to err on the side of overly dramatic.

Within the pages of Just the Way You Are, you’ll meet people from my own family, people from my imagination, and some people who stepped into the story without one ounce of my planning to ever meet them. This story came out of my desire to write something I love reading – spicy romance, clean humor, culture clashes, the big love of family, and redemption.

How did my heroine Eisley Barrett evolve? Out of thin air. I was washing dishes one afternoon and staring out the window into our small backyard with the Blue Ridge Mountains painting a purplish-blue frame on the horizon when I closed my eyes. Into my imagination came this ginger-headed woman walking through Heathrow International Airport pulling a hot pink bag behind her…and then, she tripped and fell. That was it. That’s how I was introduced to my insecure, hilarious, romance-loving, single-mom heroine.

And the dashing hero? Okay, this may sound ridiculous, but I was watching an interview about Richard Armitage (Thoron Oakenshield, Guy of Gisborne, etc) regarding his lovely costume drama North and South where he plays a very dashing British hero. Anyway, he was SUCH a gentleman to watch during the interview. So polite. Kind. Funny, in a sweet way, and then, out of the blue, he said the word ‘gosh’. I know, that may not be a big deal to anyone but me, but after watching celebrity interviews where every other word needed a censor, the very fact that this elegant man used the word ‘gosh’, sent my writing brain into motion. My first internal question? What if a movie star with a tender heart had been burned by the pretension and expectation of celebrity status? What kind of woman could touch a heart who’d lost his faith in love’s authenticity?

Enter my red-head single-mom toting her pink bag through Heathrow and you have the very beginning of Just the Way You Are – a story of forgiveness, second chances…and a little bit of movie magic.

Blog Stops

April 6: cherylbbookblog
April 8: Bookworm Mama
April 9: Quiet Quilter
April 11: Robin’s Nest
April 14: A Greater Yes
April 15: Just Commonly
April 16: Book by Book
April 17: Splashes of Joy
April 18: Karen Sue Hadley
April 19: Henry Happens
April 19: Baker Kella

Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Pepper is giving away a Grand Prize consisting of: A ‘chest’ – in JTWYA historical letters are discovered in a chest that relates to the historical storyline, so all of these lovely goodies are going to be safely inside this chest.
Chocolate – several references take place in JTWYA that compare the hero to chocolate ;-)
A plaque about family – because that’s a main point of importance in JTWYA
A Spider-man zipper pull – Pete, the heroine’s son, is a major Spider-man fan.
English Breakfast Tea – The hero is English…swoony English
A dishcloth – again, something that relates to a scene in the book regarding the hero and dishes (twice)
Stirring spoon and measuring cups – food and cooking are a big part of Appalachian culture and fellowship, something celebrated in JTWYA
A notebook – Eisley (the heroine) is taking notes about a historical family mystery
A lovely container full of cloth flowers (for fun, and beauty) – the container says – Love and you will be loved. Loving others has an amazing way to find its way back to us (as is what happens in JTWYA)
A little plaque that reads “You are Loved” – a theme of this story
A beautiful lace doily from England (the English part of the story)
Some “Pixie Dust” a fun visualization of the ‘magic’ of romance in this story
and A copy of Just the Way You Are!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b3e0

April 11, 2017

Review: True to You

True to You True to You by Becky Wade
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love Becky Wade's books. I've read every one and truly cannot wait for book two in this series. I was quite thrilled with Nora's profession in this book. I find researching family history quite intriguing and have spent a fair amount of time pouring through old letters of my own Great Grandfather so watching her help John with his history. I also loved the work she was doing in her community as well.

I appreciated that both Nora and John had some flaws because at times they both almost seemed too good to be true. But I was glad to see them both have to learn about relationship, communication, and forgiveness throughout the book. Their struggles made their lives easier to relate to. I also enjoyed the family dynamics especially with Nora and her sisters in this book. I cannot wait to get to know the other sisters better in their books.

I really loved that Wade dropped a huge surprise in this book. The book was pretty carefree and then all of a sudden there was a flip turn upside down moment. It changed everything and made me almost cry. I love it when an author pulls that off!

I highly recommend reading the prequel novella, Then Came You, so that you have a better understanding of this book. It isn't necessary but will make you appreciate many parts of this book even more.

The publisher through NetGalley provided me an advanced copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

View all my reviews

Celebrate Lit Blog Tour of Surrendered + Giveaway link


Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

 


 Book: Surrendered  
Author: Elaine Manders  
Genre: Christian Historical Romance  
Release Date: December 28, 2016  

The fight never ends until someone surrenders.

Having vanquished his political enemies, Rhyan Cason is anxious to get home to his beloved Carianne. Then he receives word an anthrax outbreak threatens his ranch. Even as he ponders how he can afford to take a wife, dark secrets from the distant past shake his beliefs to the core and convince him he’ll never be able to find forgiveness or make Carianne happy.

Carianne Barlow is stunned when Rhyan breaks their secret engagement. She leaves Sollano, the beautiful ranch house she loves almost as much as its owner, and returns home to Westerfield. While waiting for her shattered heart to heal, she shifts her attention to building the library she’s promised the town.

Even though Colt Holliman offers her a new courtship, circumstances keep drawing her back to Sollano and Rhyan. Torn between her affection for Colt and her love for Rhyan, Carianne realizes almost too late Rhyan’s troubles lie deeper than saving the ranch. He fights an evil that threatens more than his love for her—one only God can defeat.


My Review

I enjoyed book one in this series so I was really looking forward to this one. This book was predictable but in a sweet way. I was very happy to find out what happened after the first book since it felt like a cliffhanger to me. It was nice to see what happened next.


Just when I was thinking this book wouldn’t have much of a plot twist one was thrown in that I wasn’t expecting. It was just enough to reengage me partway through the book. It also added a small amount of mystery that was fun.


This book does have a little bit of a dark side in it. I don’t want to give anything away but I was taken by surprise at this scene but at the same time really appreciated it being in the book. Often Christian fiction avoids dark topics and it was handled very well and was used to change a person’s life so I loved that aspect.


I really appreciate the spiritual aspect in this book. The power and importance of prayer came up multiple times. Carianne also reads her Bible a lot and Rhyan often recalls scripture.
I was a little bit disappointed that this book was so short because I almost felt like the ending was a little rushed. But overall it was still a sweet story. I’m a total sucker for a romantic story.


CelebrateLit and the author provided me a copy of this book. All opinions are my own.


About the Author

Elaine Manders writes wholesome Christian romance and suspense about the bold, capable women of history and the strong, dependable men who love them. She prefers stories that twist and turn and surprise, told by characters who aren’t afraid to show their love for God and each other. She lives in Central Georgia with a happy bichon-poodle mix. Besides writing, she enjoys reading, crafts, and spending time with her friends, daughter, and grandchildren.

Guest Post from Elaine Manders

I was born with the gift of story. The make-believe of childhood never left me, but it wasn’t until my daughter left for college, and I was left with the empty nest, that I decided maybe it was time to start writing the stories crowding my mind. I joined a local writers’ group, took a fiction writing course, developed the craft, went to conventions, and started pitching to editors.

Since I wrote romance, I found the publishing industry pushing me to a place I didn’t want to go. The secular publishers wanted steamier writing, and I complied as much as I could. Then when I was offered a chance for publication, I couldn’t allow my name to go on the book. The Christian publishers had a very narrow marketing concept. Again, I tried to comply until I felt the joy of story being squeezed out of me. I took a twelve year hiatus from writing.

Then in 2012, I was sitting in church listening to the familiar parable of the talents. When my pastor asked the question, “Are you hiding your talent?” I immediately visualized that closet filled with my unpublished manuscripts. I rededicated myself to putting my talent to use, and I asked God to send me a new story, if this was what he wanted me to do.

Later that week, I was on the golf course when I laid down on a little hill waiting for my husband to chase a ball in the woods and stared into the deepest, bluest sky I’ve ever seen. The sun was high in the sky, but the shade of blue was so dark I could actually see, not only the moon, but some of the stars. Looking into that sky, I experienced a strange sensation, as if I’d lost contact with the earth and was moving into infinity. I wondered, as I had many times before, how an atheist could look into the heavens and not believe in the Creator. This led me to an investigation of scientific atheism, Darwinism, and the entire series, Intrigue under Western Skies, was born. My protagonist is a Darwinist of the 1880s. Book 1, Pursued, is his spiritual journey to belief in Christianity, and Book 2, Surrendered, takes him to acceptance. The heroine, of course, helps him on this journey, while dodging all the dangers the old west has to offer. Incidentally, Pursued will be free on Amazon Apr 18-19.

Blog Stops

April 11: Karen Sue Hadley
April 14: Bigreadersite
April 17: cherylbbookblog
April 17: Baker Kella
April 18: I Hope You Dance
April 21: Pause for Tales

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Elaine is giving away a $50 Amazon Gift Card! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b5ae

April 10, 2017

Review: Sandpiper Cove

Sandpiper Cove Sandpiper Cove by Irene Hannon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is by far my favorite in the series! I loved Lexie and Adam and their character development was amazing. I really liked that they both had unique issues to work through but that they actually were able to help each other with those issues. I was thrilled with the spiritual development too. I love stories where one or more characters either share how they came to Christ or share how they come back to Christ.

There was excellent balance in this book too. I loved the peek into the characters from the previous books. And Lexie's mom and son in this book are a fun addition. I really liked her mom's personality. She was kind of blunt with Lexie a few times and I loved it. And Matt, her son, was such a neat kid. I thought Hannon did a great job portraying him but not allowing him to completely take over the attention.

There were so many life lessons in this book. Sometimes it is easy to judge a book by it's cover and I loved the constant reminders in this book that you cannot only look at outward appearance or life experiences. I love how Adam was able to use his past experience to help others so many times in this book.

But truly I loved the romance the most. The flow of the relationship in this book was perfect. It seemed totally natural and not rushed. There was a great balance of fun, serious, and even some steamy moments. It was one of the more realistic love stories I've read lately.

Revell provided me a copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

View all my reviews