First Line Friday

First Line Friday | Week 47 | Through Waters Deep

It’s Friday! That means it’s time to open the book nearest you and share the first line. Today I’m sharing from Through Waters Deep by Sarah Sundin:

Opening line from Through Waters Deep: On a platform by the bow of the USS Ettinger, Mary Stirling prepared supplies no one would notice unless they were missing.

This is the first Sarah Sundin book I’ve read, but it won’t be the last!

About Through Waters Deep:

You can find Through Waters Deep online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

Click the button to check out what my fabulous fellow FirstLineFriday bloggers are sharing today:

You can then click the link which will take you to the master page of all this week’s #FirstLineFriday posts.

And you can click here to check out my previous FirstLineFriday posts.

Share your first line in the comments, and happy reading!

Take God out of the equation, and there is no meaning to what had happened with you.

#Throwback Thursday | Book Review | Lu by Beth Troy

It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m resharing my review of Lu by Beth Troy. Lu is a great example of what I’d like to see more of in Christian fiction: great characters wrestling with the big issues of God and faith and love.

About Lu

“There’s great hope where the road meets the sky – maybe even an answer. But this road leads home. Just home. I thought I’d finished writing that story years ago, but then yesterday’s story happened – the one about the boy who cheats and the girl who leaves.”
Lu Sokolowski never planned to return to her small hometown of Dunlap’s Creek, but it’s the only place she can think of to go after her boyfriend cheats on her. Moving back in with her family lets her run away from her problems, but it also means suffering their attempts to reassemble her failed life, including arranging a job as the wedding beat writer at the local paper and setting her up with Jackson, the divorced pastor of her family’s church. Unexpected success and friendships restore Lu to the family and faith she’d left behind. But when the small-town life Lu never intended shakes up, will she run again?
Lu’s story is a journey of a woman back to her family, her faith, and herself. It’s about second chances and the unchosen circumstances that press the point of who we are and what we believe. Are we the sum of our successes and failures, or does our identity rest in a greater hope?

My Review

All the stories have been written, including mine.

It’s a great first line, because it’s a strong statement that sounds true, in the same way as the famous opening line to Pride and Prejudice sounds true … until you think about it. Because we’re all unique, so our stories are also unique.

Although our stories also have some common elements:

I thought I’d finished writing that story years ago, but then yesterday’s story happened—the one about the boy who cheats and the girl who leaves. You could dress it up and call it a journey. But there was nothing new in the story about the girl who went home because she had nowhere else to go.

I know not everyone enjoys novels written in first person, but I do—especially when the character has a strong and interesting voice, as Lu (short for Louisa) does.

So Lu is home, with a car that barely runs, a 1970’s crockpot, and no money. She finds a job at the local newspaper, where she is asked to write wedding features. And she befriends the young preacher, back in town after his divorce. Lu isn’t sure if she believes in God and she certainly isn’t following him, despite having been raised in church.

Jackson challenges Lu to come to church, and she does. He’s preaching a series on the Book of Ecclesiastes, which brought him through his own tough time when his wife left him. These sermons start Lu on her own faith journey, reading the Bible and trying to understand what Jackson sees in Jesus. At the same time, she’s developing feelings for Jackson … all the while knowing nothing can come of those feelings if they don’t share a faith, and Jackson isn’t going to change.

Lu isn’t typical Christian fiction.

The characters drink alcohol and swear. Lu has been living with her boyfriend, and Jackson is divorced. Yet there is a lot more Christian content than in most Christian novels I read, and it feels natural, not forced. I liked the way the novel showed Lu’s faith journey warts and all, and that the focus was on finding Jesus for herself.

My one complaint about Lu was that it ended too soon. There was a clear ending to the main plot—Lu’s faith journey—but not to the main subplot. This annoyed me at first, but in hindsight it was the right decision. I only hope that dangling thread means there is a sequel in the works.

Thanks to the author for providing a free ebook for review.

You can find Beth Troy online at:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Find Lu online at:

Amazon US | Amazon AU | Amazon UKGoodreads

Stacy Monson - Three Psalms for Busy Women

Guest Post | Stacy Monson shares Three Psalms for Busy Women (and a #Giveaway!)

Today I’m delighted to welcome Stacy Monson to the blog. Stacy’s latest book, Open Circle, releases this week, and it looks like an excellent read. And she has a giveaway! And it’s open internationally! One random commenter will be chosen.

Psalms for Busy Women

Life can be crazy busy. Rather than put your head down and power through each day, find those touchpoint moments when you can seek God’s calm and strength. They need only be long enough to remember who He is, and who you are in Him.

Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me.

– Psalm 103:2

It’s easy to get caught up in the stress of each busy day and forget to see where God is at work. He is at work, just rarely in big moments that involve fireworks, thunderous applause, and flashing lights (unless you count the miracle of nature all around us). He’s there in the smile of a child after a tantrum, the hug of a friend in the midst of bad news. The cry of a newborn, and the understanding tears of one who knows infertility.

It’s important to look back and recognize moments when we received exactly what we needed—a phone call, a hug, a job offer, unexpected good news. He surrounds us with people who know us and love us (anyway). He provides what we need to face each day.

Instead of focusing on what’s lacking, pause throughout your busy day to thank Him for all the blessings He showers over you, and praise Him with every fiber of your being.

Be still and know that I am God.

– Psalm 46:10

This isn’t a request—it’s a two-fold command. God knows there is little stillness in our high-tech lives. With calendars crammed full of activities, there’s no time to be still! So we must make the time. God tells us Be still. Only then can we know who He is. And this verse tells us He wants us to know Him. Amazing.

When we are still (in the car waiting for the kids, in the silence of early morning, or on a break at work), that’s when we can hear His voice, feel His presence, know He’s there. He is who He says He is: Creator of heaven and earth, lover of our soul, Lord over our calendars.

The God who created you knows you better than you know yourself, and loves you with a perfect, all-consuming love. When you take the time to be still, you can know who He is as well.

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.

– Psalm 143:10

One of a woman’s greatest strengths can also be her greatest weakness. We are do-ers. When something needs doing, we jump in with both feet. Wobbling on our heels, we race from this commitment to that, leaping over obstacles, praying we stay upright as we take on yet another request. The flip side of this is burnout, resentment, and exhaustion.

How often do we pause and ask God if this new “opportunity” is what He wants for us? Instead of seeking His will for our many options, we make decisions based on the warm, fuzzy feeling of being needed, then we ask Him to save us from the issues of our own making.

The next time an offer comes your way, pause and turn your attention to the One who wants only the very best for you. Let Him teach you to say yes or no, to live on the firm footing of His purpose for you.
Great thoughts, Stacy. Thanks for sharing!

About Stacy Monson

Author Photo Stacy MonsonStacy Monson is the award-winning author of The Chain of Lakes series, including Shattered Image, Dance of Grace, and The Color of Truth. Her stories reveal an extraordinary God at work in ordinary life. Residing in the Twin Cities in Minnesota, she is the wife of a juggling, unicycling physical education teacher, mom to two amazing kids and two wonderful in-law kids, and a very proud grandma of 3 (and counting) grands.

You can find Stacy online at:

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter

Her newest book, Open Circle, releases June 21 (available for pre-order HERE!). Here’s a bit about the story:

Mindy Lee “Minnie” Carlson’s dream job has dropped into her hands, but there’s a catch. She has four months to revive Open Circle, the town’s only Senior Adult Day Center, or the doors will close, leaving her jobless, and the seniors she cares for stranded.

After decades traveling the globe and documenting the forgotten people of the world, Jackson Young discovers his beloved Grandma Em is still alive in Minnie’s small town. Overjoyed, he races back to his hometown to reconnect with her, only to discover she’s been Minnie’s surrogate grandmother for the past twenty years.

When Grandma Em has a stroke, his ideas about her care pit him against Minnie’s determination and expertise. For Grandma Em’s sake, and the future of Open Circle, they’ll need to do the impossible – find a way to work together.

To celebrate, Stacy is giving away a fun canvas tote bag with a paperback copy of Open Circle and other goodies!

(For a winner in the U.S. An international winner will receive an Amazon gift card of comparable value).

Stacy Monson Giveaway

Click below to enter the giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have you requested books for your local library?

Bookish Question #63 | Have you requested books for your local library?

We’ve talked before about whether we borrow books from the library. I used to, but don’t so much any more.

But what if your local library doesn’t have a book you want to read? Do you request the book?

My local library system has a good selection of Christian fiction, which is great. They also now have ebooks available, which extends the available selection. What we don’t have (that I know of) is an inter-library loan system the way I think some other countries have.

Anyway, our local libraries are pretty good, which meant (back when I used to use them) that I was generally able to find books I wanted to read. So I never bothered requesting books—I didn’t need to.

I did once request one of the Red Rock Mysteries for my daughter. The library had the first four books in the series, and I requested book 5. But they told me the first four books weren’t borrowed often enough to justify buying book five. So I didn’t ask again. Then I got my Kindle, started reviewing through NetGalley, and regular trips to the library became a thing of the past.

What about you? Have you requested books for your local library?

Quote from All Things Beautiful: Write the story with the message God gave you. Trust Him with the rest.

Book Review | All Things Beautiful by Keely Brooke Keith

One of the disadvantages of escaping civil war to find a new home in an uncharted island that can’t be reached using normal navigation systems is the lack of reading material. The only books in All Things Beautiful are those the settlers brought eight years ago.

This could be a problem …

Hannah Vestal has written a novel. Not that she plans to tell anyone about her literary efforts. After all, no man would be interested in a woman who dreams up stories. But her father is interested, so she decides to print a copy for his birthday. But Henry Roberts, the printer, has other priorities, like printing a New Testament. He does’t have time to waste on printing romantic fairy tales by someone who fancies she can write.

I’ve enjoyed all the Uncharted stories, but never stopped to think about what they read for pleasure (or even if they read for pleasure). And while I sometimes sigh when I find yet another novel about a character who wants to write a novel, I found I enjoyed Hannah’s writing efforts … and Henry’s efforts to improve her writing. It makes point that good writers need good editors. Most novels focus on the writer. Few give credit to the people who work with writers to bring their words to the world.

Of course, All Things Beautiful is also a romance.

And not one that runs smoothly! Hannah has a lot to learn about writing, about herself, and about her role in life. Henry has his own challenges to overcome, not least his disability and the way that’s affected his self-belief. Mind you, we all have lessons to learn in this area!

All Things Beautiful is the third (and, I think, final) book in the Uncharted Beginnings series. These were published after the Uncharted series, but are set in the 1860s. They tell the story of the voyage to the Land Uncharted, and the early days of the settlement. This series is more pure Christian historical romance than the later books. (They have a bit of a speculative element as well). Still, I suspect anyone who reads and enjoys the Uncharted Beginnings series will want to go on and read the later books, even if they don’t consider themselves speculative fiction fans.

Recommended for fans of Christian historical romance. Thanks to the author for providing a free ebook for review.

About Keely Brooke Keith

Keely Keely Brooke KeithBrooke Keith writes inspirational frontier-style fiction with a slight Sci-Fi twist, including The Land Uncharted (Shelf Unbound Notable Romance 2015) andAboard Providence (2017 INSPY Awards Longlist). Keely also creates resources for writers such as The Writer’s Book Launch Guide and The Writer’s Character Journal.

Born in St. Joseph, Missouri, Keely grew up in a family that frequently relocated. By graduation, she lived in 8 states and attended 14 schools.  When she isn’t writing, Keely enjoys playing bass guitar, preparing homeschool lessons, and collecting antique textbooks. Keely, her husband, and their daughter live on a hilltop south of Nashville, Tennessee.

Find Keely Brooke Keith online at:

Website | Facebook

About All Things Beautiful

It’s 1868 in the settlement of Good Springs, and Hannah Vestal is passionate about writing fiction and keeping her stories to herself. By lantern light she slips into her story world and dreams the adventures she’ll never experience. When her father asks to read her work, she decides to have it printed secretly for his 50th birthday. Hannah tries to arrange the printing with the settlement’s pressman, but the witty and dapper Henry Roberts won’t make it easy for her to prove her writing is worthy of his ink.

If Henry Roberts did nothing else for the rest of his life but print and bind books, he would die a satisfied man. In order to secure settlement support for his printing press, the elder council says Henry must print an error-free copy of the New Testament before the settlement’s 8th anniversary celebration. He is determined to meet their challenge, but when the enigmatic Hannah proves to be a beguiling distraction, Henry longs for something more than a life at the letterpress.

Get swept away to the hidden frontier settlement where love requires sacrifice, faith-filled adventures await, and sweet romance makes people glad to be alive. Read All Things Beautiful today and embark on an unforgettable journey of the heart in this inspirational story.

You can find All Things Beautiful online at:

Amazon | Goodreads

You can read the introduction to All Things Beautiful below:

First Line Friday

First Line Friday | Week 46 | Enchanting Nicholette

It’s Friday! That means it’s time to open the book nearest you and share the first line. Today I’m sharing from Enchanting Nicholette by Dawn Crandall:

First Line from Enchanting Nicholette: I suppose you have a new wardrobe ordered from Paris?

Enchanting Nicholette doesn’t release until October, but it’s also available as part of the Timeless Love Collection, which releases next week! The collection features seven stories, from Kari Trumbo, Andrea Boeshaar, Misty M Beller, Stephania H McGee, Pepper Basham, Sarah Monzon, and (of course!) Dawn Crandall.

Timeless Love is currently on sale for just 99 cents, which is a great deal—the preorder price for Enchanting Nicholette alone is $9.00!

All proceeds from the sale of the collection will be donated to the LiveStrong Foundation.

About Enchanting Nicholette:

In this captivating novella by Dawn Crandall, Nicholette Everstone is already a widow at the age of twenty-two: her husband was murdered on their wedding day. She has just returned to Boston after two years of mourning in Europe. Although her husband was loving, the marriage was an arranged one, and Nicholette would like to wed again–this time for love…and to someone safe.

You can find the Timeless Love Collection online at:

Amazon | Goodreads

Click the button to check out what my fabulous fellow FirstLineFriday bloggers are sharing today:

You can then click the link which will take you to the master page of all this week’s #FirstLineFriday posts.

And you can click here to check out my previous FirstLineFriday posts.

Share your first line in the comments, and happy reading!

#ThrowbackThursday | Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer

It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m resharing my review of Heart on the Line the second novel (and third book) in Karen Witemeyer’s Ladies of Harper’s Station series. This review first appeared at Australasian Christian Writers in June 2017.

Heart on the Line is a standalone story, but you’ll probably understand the women’s colony and their attitude to men better if you at least read No Other Will Do first (and perhaps Worth the Wait as well).

Like No Other Will Do, Heart on the Line is a departure from Karen Witemeyer’s witty historical romances. It’s more of a witty romantic suspense.

It starts with a Prologue, which I found rather confusing—we were introduced to a lot of off-stage characters in short order, perhaps too many. The point was introducing the central conflict of the novel: that Herschel Mallory has discovered Chaucer Haversham isn’t the rightful heir of his father’s fortune, a discovery Mallory pays for with his life, leaving his daughter an orphan on the run.

Chapter One opens a year later. Grace Mallory is hiding in the women’s colony of Harper’s Station, and working as the local telegraph operator. After hours, she chats online (on the telegraph line, not our online!) with Mr A., the telegraph operator in a neighbouring town. All is well, until she receives a late-night coded message that might mean her hiding place has been found.

When Amos Bledsoe hears Miss G might be in danger, he travels to Harper’s Station to protect her—and to see if the chemistry between them sparks in real life the way it does over the lines. Of course, there is the obvious issue of a man turning up in a women’s colony after they’ve all been warned to expect bad men … but that’s sorted out in a most original manner.

Heart on the Line is an excellent novel.

Grace and Amos are both great characters, and their shared occupation made for some great moments. The writing was excellent, a perfect mix of humour, romance and suspense, with just the right injection of the Christian faith. There was also a subplot with the man-shy Helen, and I loved that as much as the main Grace/Amos romance plot.

And there was plenty of suspense. The identity of the evildoer was kind of obvious to the reader, but was equally obvious to Grace (yay for intelligent heroines!). That added to the fun—how would she keep him from knowing she was onto him? And who would find the missing documents first!

Recommended for all romantic suspense fans.

Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Heart on the Line

Grace Mallory is tired of running, of hiding. But when an old friend sends an after-hours telegraph transmission warning Grace that the man who has hunted her for nearly a year has discovered her location, she fears she has no choice. She can’t let the villain she believes responsible for her father’s death release his wrath in Harper’s Station, the town that has sheltered her and blessed her with the dearest friends she’s ever known.

Amos Bledsoe prefers bicycles to horses and private conversations over the telegraph wire to social gatherings with young ladies who see him as nothing more than an oddity. His telegraph companion, the mysterious Miss G, listens eagerly to his ramblings every night and delights him with tales all her own. For months, their friendship–dare he believe, courtship?–has fed his hope that he has finally found the woman God intended for him. Yet when he takes the next step to meet her in person, he discovers her life is in peril, and Amos must decide if he can shed the cocoon of his quiet nature to become the hero Grace requires.

Find Heart on the Line online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

About Karen Witemeyer

Author Photo: Karen WitemeyerFor those who love to smile as they read, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer offers warm-hearted historical romances with a flair of humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. A transplant from California, Karen came to Texas for college, met a cowboy disguised as a computer nerd, married him, and never left the state that had become home.

Winner of the HOLT Medallion, ACFW Carol Award, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, National Reader’s Choice Award, and a finalist for both the RITA and Christy Awards, Karen is a firm believer in the power of happy endings. . . and ice cream. She also loves to reward her readers. Every month she gives away two inspirational historical novels to someone from her newsletter list and offers substantial bonus content on her website.

Find Karen Witemeyer online at:

Website | Facebook

Introducing RJ Conte

Author Interview | Introducing RJ Conte and My Fault

Today I’m interviewing author RJ Conte about her writing, and her new release: My Fault. It looks like a fun read!

Welcome, RJ!

About You

First, please you tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from?

Hello!  I’m the oldest of four, formerly homeschooled, Christian wife and mother of three.  I’m an ESFJ from California who now lives in the Pacific Northwest.  😊

It’s said that authors should write the kind of book they like to read. What is your favourite genre? Who are your favourite authors?

Yes!  Issue-driven is my very favorite, but there’s so few true Christian issue-driven.

My favorite authors growing up were Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and Ted Dekker.  I’d now add Bethany A Jennings, Susan Vaught, Kimberly Rae, and Elyse Fitzpatrick to that list.  😊

What was the last book you read? Would you recommend it? Why/why not?

Let’s see… I keep a file of every book I read all year.  I started that two years ago and it’s fun to look back and see what I read and what star rating I’d give it.  Each year I read over 50 books!  The last book I read was Windswept by Sarah Delana White.  It’s short and lovely – like candy.  I highly recommend it.  A sweet and unique little love story.  Sarah is an acquaintance of mine who I met through another friend, so it’s fun to read books from people you know in “real life.”

About My Fault

What kind of books do you write? Where and when are they set?

I write about those hard-hitting teen and young adult issues, but from a very overtly Christian point of view.  Every once in a while, I’ll write a little science fantasy short story – and I have plans for more speculative Christian fiction, but most of my books are contemporary and have some romance.  😊

Tell us about your latest book. What’s it about? Who will enjoy it?

“My Fault” is my first comedy. Usually I write extremely serious, often sad stories, so writing a comedy with a super quirky character was a brand new venture for me.  I LOVED doing it.  If people laugh half as hard as I did writing it, I’ll be thrilled.

“My Fault” is about a very outgoing, socially awkward young woman who is obsessed with getting to know the young man she hit while driving drunk, and making things right.  The guy is a quiet, serious, mysterious young man who seems overwhelmed by her yet doesn’t know how to say no to her.  They become really oddball friends who might develop further feelings for each other…

Well, if everyone from my 21-year-old fellow author to my 61-year-old father had a great time reading it, then I hope it will appeal to anyone!  Realistically, I expect all adult women will be its target audience.  😊

What was your motivation for writing My Fault?

I had just spent half of a year writing a much more serious, long YA novel, and needed a break.  Coming up with something short, sweet, and comedic over Christmas break was just what I needed to refresh my soul.  I also wanted to explore different ways young people get themselves into ruts when they think about God and their relationship with Him.  Cleo, the main girl, represents the young person who is flippant and apathetic about God, not even sure He’s watching or cares.  Grayson, the injured guy character, represents those who think God’s out to get them are always trying so hard to be perfect that they feel like giving up.  <3

Where did the characters and story come from? What were your influences?

The story is an idea I’ve always wanted to write.  I love the idea of love stories springing from strange places and circumstances.  I’ve always wanted to write a book about someone falling in love with the person they hit in their car.  But these specific characters sprang from specific trials I’ve had with people in my life.

Who is your favourite character and why? Do you have anything in common with him/her?

CLEO.  She says the things I sometimes only say in private to my husband.  She lets it all out, and it was a blast “being her” and in her voice and head.  😀

You said your main character is on the spectrum. Where did that idea come from?

Yes!  I never planned for Cleo to be an Aspy (have Asperger’s) but my mom, who worked with handicapped children and young adults as a school teacher, identified in that right away.  I embraced it and ran with it.  I’m not marketing her as official Asperger’s because that can be a sensitive topic to do correctly, and I wanted her to have the freedom to be herself, but between you and me and the blog readers, she’s definitely on the spectrum.  😊

What are you working on at the moment? What other books do you plan to write?

Right now I’m preparing to pitch that serious YA novel from last year at the Realm Makers writing convention in July.  I’m also loosely beginning to plot a speculative YA Christian book.  😊

About your writing

What motivated you to start writing?  When did you seriously start writing? How long did it take before you published your first book?

I’ve been telling stories since I could speak, and wrote my first story in my diary on my 7th birthday.  I didn’t self-publish for the first time, however, until I was twenty-years-old.

What made you choose to write for the Christian market?

I don’t have to support a family or write to market in any way, which frees me up to make my writing a ministry – and that’s what it is.  I dislike the business side of things, although I’m always learning and improving that aspect of my work, and really embrace my writing being a God-led ministry to young adults.  <3

What do you see as the main differences between fiction written for the Christian market compared with the general market?

Christians clamp down on anything original, and put writers and artists in a box.  Publishers for Christian fiction tend to be close-minded and unapproachable.  It’s sad, frustrating, and unfortunate, so to get my unique and REAL brand of writing out to young adults who desperately need something other than fluffy unoriginal love triangles, and whatever else the Christian market mass produces, I have to self-publish.  Thank the Lord that Amazon has really made it easy to do so, and that my books are now hitting readers successfully!

Do your novels have an overt faith element?

Yes!  I wrote two novellas, both my only books published under Clean Reads, and two speculative short stories, all of which are still moral in nature, before deciding once and for all that I want to exclusively write Christian fiction as a ministry.

Is writing for the Christian market harder or easier than writing for the general market? Why?

Yes.  Christians publishers tend to be picky, cliquish, and not open-minded, unfortunately.  ☹

What advice do you have for someone seeking to write and publish a novel?

Get coaching, take classes, read books on craft, and be prepared to spend the money to put out a book of value.  Don’t do anything half-hearted, and humbly join groups that will correct where you’re doing less than you could.  Listen to advice and learn from it.  Be open to change!

Thank you so much for having me!

About My Fault

“I realized his eyes had lost that wary look. They were the bluest blue. Bluer than my favorite coffee mug. Bluer than the Solonaise County Public Pool when it’s actually been cleaned at the beginning of the summer before all those little kids in their floaties come and pee in it.”

Quirky Cleo Stanton has a problem: she’s falling for the guy she ran over with her car when she should not have been driving.

The devout Christian and quietly mysterious, Grayson Fox is as cute as he is kind, begrudgingly putting up with Cleo and her motor mouth. But will he ever forgive her for crushing his leg? Can she break him out of his shell? And what hilarity will ensue when the flamboyant Cleo tries to draw him out?

Find My Fault online at:

Amazon | Goodreads

About RJ Conte

Author Image - RJ ConteRJ Conte has kissed only one boy in her entire life. And she married him, inspiring her to write about sweet or powerful love stories ever since.

She writes a blog on parenting, publishing, painting, and perorating at http://blonderj.wordpress.com/

She also has recently begun a book review and rating website for parents to make informed decisions on what to allow their children to read: rjconte.com/books

RJ Conte writes realistic, issue-driven fiction that explores human nature and the depths of the soul, while pointing readers to their Creator.

Find RJ Conte online at:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

 

Do you read author newsletters?

Bookish Question #62 | Do you read author newsletters?

Once upon a time, author newsletters were a rare beast.

That was mostly because of the work involved—it wasn’t just a case of writing the newsletter, but getting it printed, printing off address labels, stuffing envelopes, and posting the newsletters.

I was once responsible for writing, publishing, and mailing a 16+ page newsletter to 500+ paying subscribers for my employer. It took about a week each month—longer on the months when I didn’t manage to bribe the receptionist into helping with the last part. A regular newsletter was a big commitment of time and money.

But now it’s all done by email.

The mailing list is managed by a service such as MailChimp, and all the author has to do is write the newsletter, load it up, and press ‘send’ (or pay a virtual assistant to help with the actual sending). This has meant a proliferation of newsletters. I’ve signed up for dozens (many through giveaways).

The recent introduction of GDPR meant I got to unsubscribe from several using the passive-aggressive method of not hitting either the subscribe or unsubscribe buttons when they sent the (perhaps unnecessary) reconfirmation emails. There is one I don’t read because I’d unsubscribe if I could, but legal details aren’t that author’s strong point because there is no unsubscribe option.

Do I read them?

I read the newsletters of my favourite authors. I read the newsletters of the funny authors. And I read the newsletters of the authors where I know it’s going to be news, not a sales pitch for a book I’ve either already bought, or already decided I don’t want to buy. (I know the email gurus say to ask for the sale more than once, but I’m the buyer who proves all the theories wrong).

What about you? Do you read author newsletters?

He was the kind of guy her father had always warned her about, and she knew it.

Book Review | Just Let Go (Harbor Pointe #2) by Courtney Walsh

Grady Benson is a big-name big-ego Olympic skier who has landed in the small tourist town of Harbor Pointe, Michigan … and finds himself staying longer than planned after an unfortunate run-in with the law. Now he’s stuck in town paying his debt to society with various do-good community service projects when he should be on the slopes, qualifying for the next Olympics.

Quinn Collins is the small-town girl who’s never gone anywhere, and tells herself she doesn’t want to. What she wants is to win Best Design at the upcoming Michigan Floral Expo, in the hope that a win will enable her to reconnect with her mother—the mother who deserted her family years ago.

I have to say that I didn’t like either character at the beginning of the book.

Grady was too full of himself, and I didn’t understand Quinn’s obsession with reconnecting with a mother who abandoned her husband and two small daughters. First, has she never heard of Facebook? Second, many parents have days when they want to abandon their families (or is that just me?). It’s a test of character that we don’t.

Both characters changes and grow as the novel progresses, but it was Grady’s change that most impressed me. By the end of the story I was half in love with him myself, and he’d almost converted me to skiing (I like the concept, but I can no longer deal with the cold). Anyway, Grady’s redemption was definitely the high point of the story.

The writing was excellent, with many quotable lines.

Just Let Go follows Just Look Up in the Harbor Pointe series, but can easily be read as a standalone.

Thanks to Tyndale House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About the Author

Courtney WalshCourtney Walsh is a novelist, artist, theater director, and playwright. Change of Heart is her fifth novel and is set in the same town as Paper Hearts. Her debut novel, 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. She has written two additional books in the Sweethaven series, as well as two craft books and several full-length musicals. Courtney lives in Illinois where she and her husband own a performing and visual arts studio. They have three children.

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About the Book

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.

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You can read the introduction online below: