Tag: Tammy L Gray

#ThrowbackThursday | My Hope Next Door by Tammy L Gray

It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m resharing my review of the RITA Award-winning novel, My Hope Next Door by Tammy L Gray. It’s the first of Tammy L Gray’s books I read, and she’s become one of my must-read authors.

Katie Stone escaped her home town of Fairfield four years ago and has felt guilty ever since. Now her dad needs help with her mother, so she’s home again. Reluctantly. Very reluctantly. But she’s changed: she’s no longer the drug addict who spends more time with her boyfriend than with her family. She’s become a Christian … as if anyone in Fairfield is going to believe that.

Once home, she finds her new next door neighbour is Asher Powell. Asher, pastor’s son and town good boy, the guy she teased for being so boring all through high school. And she finds her dad’s new best friend is her ex-boyfriend, the person she’s least in interested in spending time with. Oops.

Asher has his own issues with the church and mistakes and judgement. It’s not that he’s given up on God. Just the church his dad pastors, the church he’s attended all his life.

My Hope Next Door was one of the best Christian novels I’ve read this year. It had a clear Christian message—a message it delivers as much to the people in the church as outside:

Quote

Thanks to Waterfall Press and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About the Author

Author Photo Tammy L GrayTammy L. Gray lives in the Dallas area with her family, and they love all things Texas, even the erratic weather patterns. She writes modern Christian romance with true-to-life characters and culturally-relevant plot lines. She believes hope and healing can be found through high quality fiction that inspires and provokes change.

Tammy is often lauded for her unique writing style within the inspirational genre, preferring to use analogies verses heavy-handed spiritual content. Her characters are real, relatable and deep, earning her a 2017 RITA award nomination in the Romance with Religious and Spiritual Elements category.

When not chasing after her three amazing kids, Tammy can be spotted with her head in a book. Writing has given her a platform to combine her passion with her ministry.

Tammy L. Gray has lots of projects going on.

You can find Tammy Gray online at:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter | Goodreads

About My Hope Next Door

Can love grow in the shadow of a broken past?

Former bad girl Katie Stone can feel the weight of her reputation settle over her as she drives home for the first time in years. Feeling deeply guilty about her past mistakes, Katie wants to do the right thing for once. But the small town where she grew up is not nearly as forgiving as she’d hoped. Despite it all, she’s determined to help her parents cope with her mother’s recent illness, and Katie finds a surprise ally in the man next door.

Asher Powell never minded being the son of a small-town pastor until a recent breakup leaves him wounded by lifelong members of his church. He remembers his new neighbor as a mean-spirited high school troublemaker, but he senses that her newfound faith and desire for forgiveness are sincere.

Through an unexpected friendship, two people from different worlds find peace, hope, and a second chance they never dreamed was possible.

You can find My Hope Next Door online at:

Amazon | Goodreads

You can read the introduction to My Hope Next Door Below:

Click here to find My Hope Next Door and other great Christian fiction in my Amazon shop!

What’s your favourite Christian book genre?

Bookish Question #47 | What’s your favourite Christian book genre?

Asking a keen reader their favourite genre is like asking any addict about their favourite fix. Well, I assume it is. I haven’t spent a lot of time around addicts!

My favourite genre is romance, which shouldn’t come as any surpirse to anyone who reads my reviews on a regular basis. But romance is a huge genre, so what are my favourite novels within romance? I have three:

Regency Romance

Regency Romance is set in England during the period of the British Regency—when King George III was deemed mentally unfit to rule, so his son (the future King George IV) was named Prince Regent in his place. A lot of Georgette Heyer’s novels are set in the Regency period, and it’s also the time when Jane Austen was writing and publishing. Regency Romance characters are often members of the aristocracy, so the stories are complete fantasy when compared to my way of life!

My favourite Christian Regency Romance authors are Julie Klassen, Kristi Ann Hunter, and Carolyn Miller.

Romantic Suspense

I also enjoy romance with a suspense or thriller element. The mix of romance and suspense provides the classic mix of internal and external conflict, and provides plenty of opportunity for the hero and heroine to get to know each other as they work together to solve the crime (or stop one happenning).

My favourite Christian romantic suspense authors are DiAnn Mills, Lynette Eason, Terri Blackstock, and similar authors.

Contemporary Romance

My absolute favourite genre is contemporary romance. But not just any contemporary romance. I like stories that are a realistic and even a little gritty, that show life like it is but still show the hope of Jesus. And a little comedy doesn’t hurt, as a way of diffusing tension.

My favourite contemporary Christian romance authors are whichever book I’ve read most recently. Kara Isaac, Bethany Turner, Jennifer Rodewald, Brandy Bruce, Carla Laureano, Tammy L Gray, Courtney Walsh, Amy Matayo … the list goes on.

What about you? What’s your favourite Christian book genre?

Let me know in the comments, then pop over to Australasian Christian Writers and share there!

Quote from My Unexpected Hope

Book Recommendation | My Unexpected Hope by Tammy L Gray

Tammy L Gray doesn’t write nice Christian fiction.

She writes fiction about broken characters who’ve done stupid things, who are now trying to pull themselves out of the hell they have created. My Unexpected Hope is no exception.

It’s the story of Leila and Chad, united by their common family histories of drug and alcohol abuse and addiction, and separated by those same addictions. Laila eventually kicked Chad out, unwilling and unable to be with someone who showed every sign of turning into his father, or her mother.

Now he’s back. But can she trust him?

I didn’t enjoy An Unexpected Hope as much as I enjoyed My Hope Next Door. However, that might be like saying I didn’t enjoy Hitchcock’s Vertigo as much as I enjoyed Rear Window, given that My Hope Next Door has just won the 2017 RITA award from Romance Writers of America for Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements.

My main issue was Chad. I liked him, and wanted him to succeed in his quest for sobriety. But his characterisation wasn’t even, and while he was convinced he was Laila’s soul mate, I wasn’t. There was no reason for them to be together beyond their extensive shared history. My other reason could be that I’m not a fan of the Other Woman or Other Man trope, because it always means a perfectly nice character ends up hurt (as happened in this case).

My Unexpected Hope isn’t a comfortable read.

It’s full of conflict and angst as two messed-up people try and sort their lives out. But it’s an excellent story of redemption, and well worth reading. It can be read as a standalone novel, although those who have read My Hope Next Door will enjoy seeing Katie and Cooper again. Well, perhaps not Cooper.

Thanks to Waterfall Press and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About the Book

After a year of grieving her divorce and living a life permanently stuck on pause, Laila Richardson is finally ready to have her own happy ending. Then a listing for a quaint cottage in another town answers her prayers for a fresh beginning—one that will bring her closer to her new boyfriend, Ben. Unfortunately, in her small town of Fairfield, Georgia, letting go of the past is virtually impossible. No one wants to see her move on, including the man who destroyed her heart to begin with.

Chad Richardson has spent years in misery but finally has his life on somewhat stable ground. When he learns his ex-wife is dating, he knows it’s time to go back and fight for the life he abandoned. Bolstered by his newfound sobriety, Chad has every intention of winning back the woman he loves, even if that means facing old demons that are waiting for him to fail.

Passions run deep as two souls searching for a second chance find the courage to let go of old patterns. Can they recognize that their dreams are still possible, even when forged from a broken past?

About the Author

Author Photo Tammy L GrayTammy L. Gray lives in the Dallas area with her family, and they love all things Texas, even the erratic weather patterns. She writes modern Christian romance with true-to-life characters and culturally-relevant plot lines. She believes hope and healing can be found through high quality fiction that inspires and provokes change.

Tammy is often lauded for her unique writing style within the inspirational genre, preferring to use analogies verses heavy-handed spiritual content. Her characters are real, relatable and deep, earning her a 2017 RITA award nomination in the Romance with Religious and Spiritual Elements category.

When not chasing after her three amazing kids, Tammy can be spotted with her head in a book. Writing has given her a platform to combine her passion with her ministry.

Tammy L. Gray has lots of projects going on.

You can find Tammy Gray online at:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter | Goodreads

Click below to buy An Unexpected Hope:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU

You can read the introduction to An Unexpected Hope:

It's RITA Time!

It’s RITA Time!

It’s time for the 2017 RITA Awards! For those who don’t know, the RITA Awards are the annual published author awards presented by Romance Writers of America.

They are a big deal, the Oscars of the romance writing world. I read Christian fiction, so I’m most interested in the Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements category.

The four finalists for 2017 are:

  • My Hope Next Door by Tammy L Gray
  • Keeper of the Stars by Robin Lee Hatcher
  • Close to You by Kara Isaac (who also finalled in the Debut novel category)
  • Trust My Heart by Carol J Post

I’ve read and reviewed all four books, and I’m glad I’m not a judge!

All four books were excellent, and it’s going to be a tough decision for someone (or several someones). I’d love for Kara Isaac to win, because Close to You is set in New Zealand and she’s finalled in two categories. And I edited her latest book, Then There Was You. Not that I’m biased or anything.

Here are links to my reviews:

Close to You
Keeper of the Stars
My Hope Next Door
Trust My Heart

My review of Keeper of the Stars was a guest post at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, as part of their annual RITA challenge. They ask for guest reviewers to volunteer to review each of the (many) finalists. They post two reviews of each book in the weeks leading up to the announcement of the winners.

These reviews are interesting to read because they are mostly written by readers who don’t usually read Christian romance. You’ll see the reviews aren’t nearly as glowing as those usually seen on Christian fiction review sites.

Here are links to the other SBTB reviews:

A B- review for Close to You from Bluetomarto.
A C- review for Close to You from Hope.

A B- review for Trust My Heart from LauraL.
A C- review for Trust My Heart from DonnaMarie.

A C+ review from Julia for Keeper of the Stars.

A D review for My Hope Next Door from Samantha.

If you go by the SBTB grades, the winner will be Keeper of the Stars. But that’s based on my B+ review, and I’d have given B+ or better grades to all four finalists!

The winners will be announced at the Romance Writers of America conference, on 27 July.

Have you read any of these RITA finalists? Which do you think should win?

books I’m looking forward to reading

Bookish Question #13: What Books are you Looking Forward to Reading?

It’s the end of June (already!), which means we’re halfway through the year. I’ve read a bunch of books, but there are still more books to read. There are always more books to read.

Here are the books I’m looking forward to reading (click on the covers to buy on Amazon):

Books from Debut Authors

Count Me In by Mikal Dawn

An accountant as a heroine? I don’t think I’ve seen that before, so I’m looking forward to finding out Allegra’s story.

Someplace Familiar by Teresa Tysinger

I’ve heard good things about Someplace Familiar. It’s a debut novel, and the start of a series. Well, it’s best to start at the beginning, right?

 

 

Books I Own But Haven’t Read Yet

(Don’t judge me. You have a mile-high to-read pile as well. Don’t you?)

Finders Keepers by Sarah Monzon

Finders Keepers has just won the Selah Award, and I’ve read (and reviewed) the sequel, but somehow haven’t managed to read this yet.

 The Whys Have It by Amy Matayo

I love Amy Matayo’s writing and the way she shows authentic faith in a real world. And the cover …

My Unexpected Hope by Tammy L Gray

My Unexpected hope is the sequel to My Hope Next Door, which is a RITA finalist, and was one of my top picks for 2016. So I have to read it, right?

The Wayward Heart by Nerys Leigh

The Wayward Heart is the third book in Nerys Leigh’s unique mail order bride series—unique in that each of the stories in the series is happening at the same time, so you can read the series in any order.

 

Books I’m Waiting For

Ghost Hunter by Lisa Harris and Lynne Gentry

Ghost Hunter is a suspense novel set in Tanzania and the United States. That’s all I know about it. But it’s by Lisa Harris, which pretty much guarantees a winner.

Ghost Hunter releases in August 2017.

A Dangerous Legacy by Elizabeth Camden

I love the way Elizabeth Camden melds new-to-me historical research with faith and romance.

A Dangerous Legacy releases in October 2017.

The Captivating Lady Charlotte by Carolyn Miller

Regency romance is one of my favourite romance genres, and it’s great to see more Christian authors in this space.

The Captivating Lady Charlotte releases tomorrow! I can’t wait! Well, I can. Because I have to. But you know what I mean.

An Inconvenient Beauty by Kristi Ann Hunter

More Regency romance, from award-winning Kristi Ann Hunter. I’ve read and enjoyed every one of her books so far, so I have no doubts about this one. And the cover is gorgeous.

An Inconvenient Beauty releases in September 2017.

Deadly Proof by Rachel Dylan

Legal suspense. What more do I need to know?

Legal Proof releases in September 2017.

 

What book or books are you most looking forward to reading in the second half of 2017?

What did you read in September 2016? (and a giveaway)

Well, I’ve (mostly) caught up on my reading and even managed to get some writing done (you can track my progress using the MyBookProgress counter to the right of the screen).

It’s been a great reading month, with some excellent choices. Here are my top four picks for September:

Favourite Reads

And here are the links to my reviews:

The Name I Call Myself by Beth Moran (click here to read my review)

My Hope Next Door by Tammy L Gray (click here to read my review)

A Lady Unrivaled by Roseanna M White (click here to read my review)

The Wedding Shop by Rachel Hauck (click here to read my review)

 

And I promised you a giveaway … so here it is. Click here if you’d like to enter to win a Kindle copy of My Hope Next Door by Tammy L Gray.

What have you been reading this month? Leave a comment and let me know!

This is off-topic, but I have to share: this is where I live, and where I’m setting my stories. Read the article, and you’ll understand why 🙂