Thursday, September 26, 2013

Made to Last by Melissa Tagg

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Made to Last

(Bethany House Publishers - September 15, 2013)

Melissa Tagg


A Word From The Author:

I’m a former reporter turned author who loves all things funny and romancey. My debut novel, a romantic comedy titled Made to Last, releases from Bethany House in September 2013. In addition to my nonprofit day job, I’m also the marketing/events coordinator for My Book Therapy, a craft and coaching community for novelists.

It all started when my dad, at the ripe old age of sixteen, picked up my mom up for their first date. She was thirteen. Thirteen!* Dad drove a cherry red car up the lane to my grandparents big ol’ green house and honked his horn…whereupon Mom jumped out of the apple tree she’d been waiting in and off they went…fishing. True story. (I’d give more details, but I’m saving it for a novella I plan to entitle Two Leaves. Mom, I really hope you read this.)

Four years of college, a few trips abroad and a stint as a reporter later, that dream is soon to be a reality. My debut novel, a romantic comedy titled Made to Last, is now out from Bethany House. Book two, Here to Stay, comes out on May 1, 2014.

In between writing and staring out the window brainstorming, I also work as a grant-writer at one of Iowa’s largest private nonprofits and serve as the marketing/events coordinator for My Book Therapy, a craft and coaching community for novelists founded by Susan May Warren.

And I love, love, love talking about finding our purpose and identity in Christ. (And well, okay, food, old movies, boots and scarves, my awesome nephew Ollie, and, fine, Tim Tebow, too.)


Miranda Woodruff has it all. At least, that's how it looks when she's starring in her homebuilding television show, From the Ground Up. So when her network begins to talk about making cuts, she'll do anything to boost ratings and save her show--even if it means pretending to be married to a man who's definitely not the fiance who ran out on her three years ago.

When a handsome reporter starts shadowing Miranda's every move, all his digging into her personal life brings him a little too close to the truth--and to her. Can the girl whose entire identity is wrapped up in her on-screen persona finally find the nerve to set the record straight? And if she does, will the life she's built come crashing down just as she's found a love to last?

My thoughts:

I loved this book! I fell in love with so many characters...Randi, Cee, Matt, even Blaze (and I'm hoping book two, Here to Stay, coming in May 2014, is his story!)

I love a book where I feel emotionally connected to the story. Made to Last made me laugh (a lot), get a little melancholy a time or two...and a few times I just wanted to give a few of the characters a piece of my mind! Friction definitely makes for a good story.

Melissa wrote such an engaging story, it's hard to believe this is a debut novel - and that makes me want to read the next one all the more.

My thanks to CFBA and Bethany House for generously providing a copy for review.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Made to Last, go HERE.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Raw Edges by Sandra D Bricker

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Raw Edges

(Abingdon Press - September 17, 2013)


Sandra D. Bricker


For more than a decade, Sandra D. Bricker lived in Los Angeles. While honing her chosen craft of screenwriting in every spare moment, she worked as a personal assistant and publicist to some of daytime television's hottest stars. When her mother became ill in Florida, she walked away from that segment of her life and moved across the country to take on a new role: Caregiver.

The Big 5-OH! was released by Abingdon Press in the Spring of 2010, and the novel was very well-received, garnering a couple of nibbles from Hollywood.

Always the Baker, Never the Bride was released by Abingdon Press in September 2010. With its phenomenal reviews, the novel spawned a series of three more books based on the popular cast of characters at The Tanglewood Inn, a wedding destination hotel in historic Roswell, Georgia. The series cemented Sandie's spot in publishing as a flagship author of Laugh-Out-Loud romantic comedy for the inspirational market.

"Being allowed to combine my faith and my humor with my writing dream," says Bricker, "well, that's the best of all worlds, as far as I'm concerned!"


Grayson McDonough has no use for teal ribbons, 5k runs, or ovarian cancer support groups now that his beautiful wife Jenna is gone. But their nine-year-old daughter Sadie seems to need the connection. When Annabelle Curtis, the beautiful cancer survivor organizing the memory quilt project for the Ovacome support group, begins to bring out the silly and fun side of his precious daughter again, Gray must set aside his own grief to support the healing of Sadie’s young heart. But is there hope for Gray’s heart too along the way?

My thoughts:

I've read a number of Sandra Bricker's novels and I know that as I pick up each one, I will be gifted with a story that will both tug my heartstrings and tickle my funny bone.

Sadie's love for her late mother, Jenna, is evident and each journal entry between chapters enhances that part of the story even more. As Sadie learns the life lessons that her mother knew she would need to make it through the days to come, she also uses those lessons to help her father, Gray, see hope where he only sees loss and grief.

After the first anniversary of her death, Jenna asks (through her journal) that Sadie encourage her father to get involved in Ovacome, a support group for those whose lives have been affected by ovarian cancer. He reluctantly agrees and there they meet Annabelle Curtis, an ovarian cancer survivor herself, who is overseeing the construction of a memory quilt to honor both the survivors as well as those who valiantly lost their fight with the dreaded disease. As Sadie gets more attached to the project, she gets attached to Annabelle as well and is determined to get Annabelle and her daddy together.

This sweet love story is full of great characters, some emotionally charged moments, and a delightful ending that will leave a smile on your face. If cancer has touched your life in any way, then you need to read this book. Within the pages of this story, Sandra gives us a look into a disease that can leave people with tattered and fragile hearts, but also shows us that God's love can blanket us with hope and can help mend those raw edges.

My thanks to CFBA and Abingdon Press for generously providing a copy for review.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Raw Edges, go HERE.

Watch the book trailer:

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Fall into Reading 2013

Happy Fall, Y'all!

It's hard to believe another summer has come and gone. I'm definitely feeling fall in the air and the slightest wind is causing the leaves to find their way to the ground. These chilly evenings are making it so much more desirable to choose to cuddle up with a good book and a warm beverage and read the night away - and just in time comes the Fall into Reading Challenge. I've joined in many of the Fall into Reading Challenges when they were hosted by Katrina at Callapidder Days and am happy to see that someone has picked up the mantle to carry on this challenge.

This year's host is Sandra Stiles at The Musings of a Book Addict and you can find out all the pertinent info here.

Here's my tentative list of the books I hope to get through in the next three months. I know it seems a bit ambitious but I'm trying to hit my goal for the number of books read in 2013 as well as finish a few challenges I signed up for in January.

Review books:

1. The Nurse's Secret Suitor by Cheryl Wyatt
2. Pretty is as Pretty Does by Debby Mayne
3. A Plain Disappearance by Amanda Flower
4. The Christmas Quilt by Vannetta Chapman

Books to finish my reading goals for 2013:

1. Three Hearts, One Town by Sarah Jae Foster
2. Black, White, Other by Joan Steinau Lester
3. Jim Eliot - Missionary Martyr by Susan Martin Millers
4. In Plain View by Olivia Newport
5. Swimming through Clouds by Rajdeep Paulus
6. Like Moonlight at Low Tide by Nicole Quigley
7. Bright Christmas by Susan Rohrer
8. It's Complicated by Laura L Smith
9. It's Over by Laura L Smith
10. Diary of a Real Payne by Annie Tipton
11. Knocking 'Em Dead by Chris Well
12. The Icing on the Cake by Janice Thompson
13. Dark Justice by Brandilyn Collins
14. Eventide by Shelley Shepard Gray
15. The Christmas Visitor by Linda Byler
16. Forever Friday by Timothy Lewis
17. Beneath the Dover Sky by Murray Pura
18. Frame 232 by Wil Mara
19. In the Secret Service by Jerry Parr
20. Grace Unplugged by Melody Carlson
21. The Doctor's Devotion by Cheryl Wyatt
22. Love Finds You in Lancaster, PA by Annalisa Daughety
23. Heart of the Country by Rene Gutteridge/John Ward
24. Love Finds You in Carmel by-the-Sea by Sandra Bricker
25. The Tattered Quilt by Wanda Brunstetter
26. A Plain Death by Amanda Flower
27. A Plain Scandal by Amanda Flower
28. Double Take by Melody Carlson
29. Damaged by Melody Carlson
30. The Future Door by Jason Lethcoe
31. Blown Away by Nancy Mehl
32. Burying the Hatchet by Chris Well

I am also reading the preliminary list (25 books) of the Missouri Show-Me Award Nominees for 2014-2015 and I will add those as I read them.

Happy Reading, Everyone!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Unforeseeable by Nancy Mehl

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


(Bethany House Publishers - September 1, 2013)


Nancy Mehl


Nancy Mehl lives in Wichita, Kansas with her husband Norman and their dog, Watson. She’s authored thirteen books and is currently at work on her newest series for Bethany House Publishing.

All of Nancy’s novels have an added touch – something for your spirit as well as your soul. “I welcome the opportunity to share my faith through my writing,” Nancy says. “It’s a part of me and of everything I think or do. God is number one in my life. I wouldn’t be writing at all if I didn’t believe that this is what He’s called me to do. I hope everyone who reads my books will walk away with the most important message I can give them: God is good, and He loves you more than you can imagine. He has a good plan especially for your life, and there is nothing you can’t overcome with His help.”

She and her husband attend Believer’s Tabernacle in Wichita.


Mystery, Romance, and Suspense Seamlessly Combined in a Mennonite Small-Town Setting

Callie Hoffman knows she has a good life in Kingdom, Kansas. She's thrilled to be engaged to Levi Housler, the new pastor of Kingdom Mennonite Church, and she spends her days working with her friend and soon-to-be sister-in-law, Lizzie Housler, at Cora's Cafe.

However, Callie's idyllic life is interrupted when a body is discovered on the road outside Kingdom and the deceased turns out to be a victim of a serial killer. As Washington County's new sheriff begins questioning Kingdom residents, Callie and the rest of the town are appalled at the prospect of a killer among them. The very reason Kingdom exists is to protect the people from the temptations and dangers of the outside world, but all the town founders' attempts to plan ahead couldn't prevent a threat like this.

Unsettled at this unforeseen danger, Callie is concerned when it appears Levi knows more than he's telling. Desperate to find answers for herself, Callie never expected that she'd have to face some of her own past's skeletons.

As Callie and the residents of Kingdom fear this danger for which they never planned, they must learn anew that only God knows the future and their trust must always lie in Him.

My Thoughts:

Things are not always as they seem, even in the idyllic Mennonite community of Kingdom, Kansas, and that peaceful existence is about to change.

Intrigue abounds in this final episode in the Road to Kingdom series. Women are found dead and evidence leads the authorities to believe that the killings are the work of a serial killer. The townspeople are frightened and wonder who among them is hiding their true that makes them want to kill.

I've enjoyed this whole series and was very impressed with it's conclusion. With it's complex plotting and great character development, romance with its share of friction, and an ending that will knock your socks off, Unforeseeable will leave lovers of romantic suspense like myself quite satisfied.

My thanks to CFBA and Bethany House Publishers for generously providing a copy for review.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Unforeseeable, go HERE.