When History and Literature Collide

My story begins last Saturday night.

Marion, KY is a very small town. I mean, like, 3,000 people small. Some claim that there’s nothing to DO here. So, the library (ahem) is trying to offer more recreational activities to spice things up. Last Saturday, however, was NOT a library activity, but our local Community Arts Foundation offering a Chautauqua speaker portraying Daniel Boone!

DanielBooneFP

Some of you who know me know that Fess Parker, who played Daniel Boone in the 60’s television series, was my first crush. I’ve been fascinated with Daniel Boone since I was about 4 years old.

Daniel_Boone_book._copyThis, however, was NOT Fess Parker, but actor Kevin Hardesty portraying the character of Captain Boone much more realistically. He told of the hardships and triumphs of the frontier, stories of his family and of the many trials they faced. I was captivated.

You can imagine, then, how enthralled I was to begin reading Laura Frantz’s latest book, A Moonbow Night. I started reading that night after being immersed in the frontier with Daniel Boone. In my mind I went straight to 1777 Cumberland Falls, in Eastern Kentucky, and the very area where A Moonbow Night takes place, but it meant even more, now.

MoonbowLFI’m so glad I was in that place at that moment. The literary descriptions, turns of phrase, and deep point of view of Laura’s stories consistently hold me in a state of attention that literally makes me lose track of what time, era, place, I’m in.

As of today, I’m only halfway through , but I wanted to share what I’m reading right now, because I’m so excited about it. If you like to lose yourself in a good book, pick this one up – or any of Laura’s books, for that matter! Every time I declare one “my favorite” of hers, I read another that replaces it!

Oh, and if you’re ever in Eastern Kentucky (which to us Western Kentuckians is a “whole ‘nuther country”), check out Cumberland Falls. It’s a beautiful place in the daytime, but now my dream is to visit it when I can actually witness a real-live “moonbow!”

Not Your Average Romance

While straight romance reads may not be my favorite, I do like a a little romance thrown into stories. Even Steven James’ thrillers have small elements of romance. I enjoy stories with unique protagonists, stories in which the romance is secondary to the main plot, yet still vital. Below are a few of my favorites because of their uniqueness.

JANE EYRE (Charlotte Bronte) – I love the atypical heroine in Jane Eyre. Not the modelesque heroines we’ve come to expect in modern day stories, but someone plain, someone relatable.

A VOICE IN THE WIND (Francine Rivers) – Another unique heroine–Hadassah certainly wouldn’t win any beauty contests, but that’s what makes the attraction between Hadassah and Marcus Valerian so captivating.

THE MISTRESS OF TALL ACRE (Laura Frantz) – I could probably put all of Laura’s books on my favorite romance list, but I’ll stick to one and choose her most recent. Laura’s musical prose and her exquisite settings are enough to draw me in every time, so her multi-faceted characters and page-turning stories are like the cherry on top.

MY STUBBORN HEART (Becky Wade) – This introduction to Becky’s writing made me a forever fan. The story’s a bit edgier than your typical Christian romance, which is, naturally, why I enjoyed it so much. Her Porter series is also very good, but My Stubborn Heart remains my favorite.

DANCE OF GRACE (Stacy Monson) – The heroine is a one-legged dancer, and the hero is an ex-con. Does Christian romance get more unique than that? Seriously, that’s all I need to hear to know that this is a must-read romance.

Have you read any of these romances? What are your five favorite romances?

Falling for Fall Books

How high is your TBR? For those unclear of what that means, TBR stands for To Be Read, and we readers always have a stack or two–or three–or ten.

With autumn releases as colorful as the leaves on the trees, that TBR pile is sure to grow. Don’t be afraid. This is good. Very good. Winter is right around the corner, and if you get snowed in for a month, you’re going to need those books to keep sane.

So, in an effort to help you keep that TBR pile high, the Inkspers are going to share what is on the top of their own piles, including some of the fall releases we are anxious to get our hands on. Join us each day this week to make sure you aren’t missing our on some great reads.

To celebrate TBR week, we’re giving away a two copies of Judith Miller’s The Brickmaker’s Bride, book 1 in the Refined by Love series (Bethany). This one isn’t on my TBR pile because I’ve already read it, but here’s a little about it.

 

Brickmaker's BrideIn the clay-rich hills of the newly founded state of West Virginia, two families tentatively come together to rebuild a war-torn brickmaking business.

Ewan McKay has immigrated to West Virginia with his aunt and uncle, promising to trade his skills in the clay business for financial help. Uncle Hugh purchases a brickmaking operation from a Civil War widow and her daughter, and it’s Ewan’s job to get the company up and running again.

Ewan seeks help from Laura, the former owner’s daughter, and he quickly feels a connection with her, but she’s being courted by another man–a lawyer with far more social clout and money than Ewan. Resolving that he’ll make the brickworks enough of a success that he can become a partner in the business and be able to afford to bring his sisters over from Ireland, Ewan pours all his energy into the new job.

But when Hugh signs a bad business deal, all Ewan’s hard work is put in jeopardy. As his hopes for the future crumble, Laura reveals something surprising. Can she help him save the brickworks, and will Ewan finally get a shot at winning her heart?

Click to order it here on Amazon or here for Christianbook.com. By the way, don’t miss the gorgeous dress on this cover model. You can see the whole dress on the back cover. It’s the perfect fall dress!

My TBR Pile

As I said, my TBR pile is overflowing, but the one that has risen to the top, of course, is that of my dear friend Laura Frantz. Her book, Love’s Fortune (Revell), is a must read. I would have devoured it already if I hadn’t been in full wedding frenzy this last few weeks. (In case you missed it, Dawn’s son married my niece on Saturday.)

“Laura Frantz surely dances when she writes: the words sweep across the page with a gentle rhythm and a sure step. Her characters in Love’s Fortune are sympathetic, yet flawed, making them oh-so-easy to care for, ache for, cheer for. Her historical details are well chosen, and her sense of time and place rings true. Above all, it’s Wren’s journey that engages our hearts and makes the pages turn. Well done, lass!”–According to Liz Curtis Higgs, New York Times best-selling author

Love's FortuneWant to dive in yet? Well, let me give you a bit more. RT Review writer Patsy Glans said, “In this final chapter in the heartwarming Ballantyne Legacy series, characters are well defined with a mix of sweet charmers and scoundrels. The storyline is believable and flows evenly throughout the book. Frantz does an outstanding job on the historical details without going over the top and distracting from the plot.”

Here’s the back cover blurb if you still need more.

 Pennsylvania seems so far away to Rowena Ballantyne. She has lived a sheltered life in Kentucky until her grandfather Silas summons her family to New Hope. The attention the extended family bestows on Wren makes her uncomfortable. James Sackett is a pilot for the Ballantyne shipping line. He has been given the task of being Wren’s escort while she is with them. Wren’s aunt decides to introduce her to the local high society, which means going to teas, afternoon gatherings and balls. Wren makes private plans to go back home and forget about all she has learned and to also forget about James. She believes this is the right course of action, so why is her heart breaking in two? Will Wren find her true happiness back home or will the lure of first love be the victor of her heart? 

You can purchase Laura’s Love’s Fortune on Amazon here or on Christianbook.com here.

So, how tall is your TBR pile? What’s on the top? Let us know.

Book Giveway:  Leave a comment to be entered into the drawing to receive one of the two copies of Judith Miller’s Brickmaker’s Bride. Every day you leave a comment in the next two weeks, you will be entered. Winner will be chosen by Random.org on Fri., Oct. 10 at midnight, central time zone. 

I Find You Not Guilty!

MP900385346[1]That’s right. I’m not guilty of indulging in guilty pleasures. I know the evidence is stacked against me, but–

What evidence you ask? Well, let’s see …

First there are the Marvel Avenger movies–I blame this obsession on my husband. He won the four free tickets to Thor in 2011. Thor? Really? Why on earth would I want to watch that? So, wrinkling my nose, I went to the movie … and fell in love. Seriously, ladies, Chris Hemsworth looks very nice up on that big screen. Not to mention, I loved the movie, the story line, the supporting cast, everything about it. Yes, I was hooked, and now I’m a full-fledged Avengers fan. Captain America? Oh yeah. Iron Man? All three movies. The Avengers? Saw it seven times in the theater. Yes, I said seven. That included an Avengers movie marathon that showed six Marvel Avenger movies in one day, including two Iron Man movies, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, ending with a midnight showing of The Avengers. I won’t tell you how many times we’ve watched The Avengers at home–I probably can’t count that high.

Thor The Dark World

Thor: The Dark World comes out in November 2013. Captain America: The Winter Soldier releases in April of 2014. I have to wait until May of 2015 for The Avengers: Age of Ultron. 🙁 Thanks to my husband, I just can’t get enough!

So, is that it for evidence against me?

Movie PopcornWell, not exactly. You see, when we attend movies, it’s a requirement to eat popcorn soaked in butter and sprinkled generously with salt. (You do realize that popcorn is merely a tool to eat butter and salt, don’t you?) Our family even has movie-theater popcorn-eating down to a science. We purchase one refillable bucket and bring four large bowls with us. No reaching across for that next handful, no sirree. (Actually we use large Country Crock containers. With the cover on, it’s easy to shake it, spreading the butter and salt evenly–as I said, we have it down to a science!)

But, naturally, healthy doses of buttery, salty popcorn shouldn’t be relegated to theaters only, it’s also the perfect snack to enjoy during your favorite TV shows like Blue Bloods (the family actually prays together on the show!!!) and Once Upon A Time and Falling Skies. Then there are the new shows coming out this fall that I can’t wait to see that will perfectly satisfy my popcorn cravings: Once Upon a Time in Wonderland and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. — Yep, those Agents of Shield are Avengers. 🙂 And, no, I’m not obsessed. Seriously!

You say their’s more evidence that I indulge in guilty pleasures? Hmmph! You’re going for the jugular, aren’t you?

Believe it or not, this has absolutely nothing to do with Avengers, but it is certainly a pleasure. Ever tried Fannie May Chocolates? The Trinidad with its rich, creamy chocolate center, coated in white chocolate mixed with toasted coconut. Then there’s the vanilla buttercream covered with dark chocolate, and the Carmarsh — caramel and marshmallow topped with chocolate. Your mouth watering yet? See, you’d be hooked too!

Then there are good books, quiet time, day trips up the North Shore … Ahh yes, I partake in it all!

So, with all that evidence stacked against me, how was I exonerated, you ask? Let’s just say the jury couldn’t turn down my my 2 Pound Box of Fannie May candy bribe. 😉 Hey, no pointing fingers. You wouldn’t have turned down the bribe either!

(It’s just a good thing the prosecuting attorney never discovered my Lays Sour Cream & Onion potato chip obsession–that might have put it over the top …)

What pleasures are you *not* guilty of?

~*~*~

Love's AwakeningOn Distant ShoresSince we know most of our Inksper friends have reading on their list of guilty pleasures, we’re giving away a (gently used) copy of Sarah Sundin’s On Distant Shores to one lucky reader, and a copy of Laura Frantz’s Love’s Awakening to another reader. Every time you leave a comment on posts dated September 9, 2013 through September 20, 2013, your name will be entered.
The two winners will be chosen after midnight on Friday, Sept. 20, 2013 and posted on Saturday, September 21, 2013!

Pinterest Junkie

Thumb TackThere’s no count down for me on my guilty pleasures. I’m completely hooked on Pinterest. It’s just that simple. It started so innocently, you see. Just a few pins here and there. Then there were people who actually liked my pins and pinned them to their boards. What a thrill of anonymous approval. Oh, and then people started following my boards. Squee!! They like me, they like me, they really, really like me.

Cue the record scratching sound effect. Okay, they like my pins. But, hey, it’s still a great feeling when someone else loves the same things you do. I’ll be the first to raise my hand and admit I’m Laura Frantz’s number one Pinterest pin stalker. She’s got amazing pins!!

Pin sharing adoration aside, I have found a whole new world through Pinterest. It’s not just a wasted past-time for me. My first big find was for a ‘home-made’ laundry soap to use since I am dye and fragrance sensitive. It really has saved me tons of money on laundry soap, and I can trust the ingredients. Find that wonderful recipe here.

I also found different ways to make stepping stones for the memory garden hubs and I planted this year. It did take me three tries to Psalms 119105find the method that worked, but I think they turned out great. The photo on the right was taken in July and I used PicMonkey to doll it up a bit.

My biggest find was a project I’m still working on (and is a total secret!) for Christmas gifts. Not only have I gotten hooked on Pinterest, I’m completely ga-ga over Kathy Orta’s scrapbook creations. Check Kathy’s website Paper Phenomenon out here, or look her up on You Tube where she has numerous step by step tutorials posted.

I must warn you though, it’s an expensive habit, scrapbooking. So, I turned to You Tube for tutorial videos on how to save money and make things like alcohol inks way cheaper than the more expensive professional brands. Thanks to You Tube I found out that Big Lots is one of the best places to find odd little scrapbooking accessories for a fraction of the cost elsewhere. It’s probably a good thing I don’t live in the city or I’d be broke.

Who else is a Pinterest Junkie?

Since we know most of our Inksper friends have reading on their list of guilty pleasures, we’re giving away a (gently used) copy of Sarah Sundin’s On Distant Shores to one lucky reader this week, and a copy of Laura’s Love’s Awakening to another reader. Every time you leave a comment over the next two weeks, your name will be entered. The two winners will be chosen after midnight on Friday, Sept. 20 and posted on Saturday!

The Making of a Cover

These past two weeks we’ve been touting beautiful, eye-catching book covers, and talking about why they grab our attention.

Today, I thought it would be interesting to look at book covers from a different angle: the making of the cover.

Here’s an interesting video from Random House Books, talking with book cover designers about their designs:

Love's AwakeningBurning SkyHere’s a link to a blog post on Brandon Hill Photos that shows the cover shoot for Laura Frantz‘s new release Love’s Awakening (an excellent novel!) –http://brandonhillphotos.com/loves-awakening/.

And another link to Lori Benton‘s blog post on the making of the cover for her debut release, Burning Sky (another terrific read!) –http://loribenton.blogspot.com/2013/08/burning-sky-making-of-cover.html.

I’d love to know your thoughts about the making of these covers.

GOT YOU COVERED!

CatMOckingbirdI am a librarian. Yes, I see book covers on a daily basis, and yes, a great book cover STILL has the power to draw my eye. I’m a sucker for a great cover – contemporary, historical, fantasy – you name it, I am drawn to that cover.

I did a little thinking, though, and found some of my favorite covers. They’re not new, up-and-coming titles, nor are they vintage covers – they’re just covers that will STILL draw me in and make me read them, even if I’ve already read them!

And yes, I think Book Covers have distinct personalities.

Almost AlwaysComeHome

I remember the first time I saw Cynthia Ruchti’s debut contemporary novel, They Almost Always Come Home. The cover entranced me. Cynthia, in a mentor meeting at ACFW, entranced me. Now, some of you know that I’m not usually drawn to reading material that won’t make me laugh, or at least swoon. But I was drawn. And I read it. And I was totally, fantastically, humbly, AMAZED at the story journey that that little boat took me on. Sometimes we need to let the cover draw us in!

BrideMostBegrudging

Occasionally, it’s the dress that gets me. I read my first Deanne Gist novel because the dresses were just SO PRETTY! What was great, however, was the girl inside that dress!

CourtingMorrowLittle

I would have read Laura Frantz if it had a plain brown wrapper, but you know what, her books do NOT have a plain brown wrapper – instead, her heroines are bedecked in glorious silks and an expression that is JUST LIKE you would expect when you get to know the heroine.

the-brides-of-bonneterre-series

And then there are the “fellas.” A few of my favorite authors, for certain series, have opted to put the HERO on the cover, as opposed to the HEROINE. I can certainly live with that . . . Kaye Dacus, in her “Brides of Bonneterre” series, just gave us PART of the hero . . . and that was enough. OutOfControlMary Coneally, in her “Kinkaid Brides” series, gave us three distinct personalities for her three distinct heroes. Interesting that both series titles have the word “brides,” and they feature the GROOMS! I love it.

FoolsRushIn

A few other series that caught my eye, and one that I’ve seriously already read twice, is Janice Thompson’s “Weddings By Bella” series (which now has a sub-series started!), and Susan May Happily Ever AfterWarren’s “Deep Haven” series. The colors, the art, the playful quality of both series’ covers make me want to hang them on the wall so I can look at them all the time!

So yeah. Talk about a topic that a librarian can sink her teeth into? It’s book covers.

I’m totally . . . flabbergasted

HOLDING OUT FOR A HERO

Heroes.

There’s just something about a hero that makes you feel safe. Secure. Sometimes even a little twitter-pated?

My first fictional hero was Daniel Boone. He was right up there with the Cartwright boys on Bonanza. Dan’l was larger than life. The strong, silent type – at least according to Fess Parker’s portrayal. Honestly, I’ve never wanted to learn much about the REAL Daniel Boone, because I hear he wasn’t exactly the upright citizen that inspired confidence in all those who called Boonsboro “home.”

When I started reading romance, as a teen, I was drawn, once again, to the “strong, silent type.” Grace Livingston Hill, Essie Summers . . . they always featured a hero that was above reproach. Whenever they faltered, there was a REALLY GOOD REASON for it! They will climb they highest mountain in the fiercest blizzard to deliver medicine to a dying stranger. They will risk all to save the family farm. You get the idea.

More recently I have found more variety in my hero crushes. Laura Frantz’ “Ian,” in The Frontiersman’s Daughter, literally made me swoon. Not only is he a doctor, and so to be respected, but he is also Scottish, with piercing blue eyes and thick dark hair. He teaches Lael so much about grace, and ultimately, about love.

Kaye Dacus’ series “The Brides of Bonneterre” feature three amazing heroes, but my favorite was in the third book, and the one I least expected to like – “Forbes Guidry.” In A Case for Love, we focus on Forbes ,et al, and it’s not like we’ve not met him before. He’s the “glue” that holds the family together. Oldest son, successful lawyer, “most eligible bachelor,” always there to keep the peace. That’s Forbes. He’s even a neat freak. But we see a different side of him in his book. He’s still all of the above, but we learn that Forbes is human after all. He worries about strife in the family. He has panic attacks. But when all is said and done, he does the right thing and you find yourself literally CHEERING when that happens!

Somehow, I think ALL these heroes would climb that mountain to deliver that medicine. ALL of them would risk everything to save the family farm – and more importantly, the family.

So, my kind of hero? He may be good-looking, but more importantly, he’s good to those around him.

Hmmmm . . . could I just write a BOOK about my favorite heroes? It would take that long to list them all!

What trait is YOUR favorite in a fictional character?

FALL DELIGHTS

When I knew that this round of blog posts had to do with books we were anticipating for fall, little did I know that I would have the privilege of reading them EARLY! I can fully endorse all three of the books on this list – 2 of which I have read, and one of which is sitting on my nightstand as we speak!

 

Last week I read Laura Frantz’ September release, Love’s Reckoning, Book 1 of the Ballantyne Legacy series.  I have longed for Laura to delve into series books because I can never stand for her books to end. This one ends – but there is promise of SO MUCH MORE! You will sigh. You will laugh. You will be angry. And you will speak with a Scottish brogue for a few days after putting it down. On top of all that, you will keep thinking about it, and about what can possibly come next!

Here’s what the back cover says –

On a bitter December day in 1784, Silas Ballantyne arrives at the door of blacksmith Liege Lee in York County, Pennsylvania. Silas is determined to finish his apprenticeship quickly and move west. But because he is a fast worker and a superb craftsman, Liege endeavors to keep him in York by appealing to an old tradition: the apprentice shall marry one of his master’s beautiful daughters.

Eden is as gentle and fresh as Elspeth is high-spirited and cunning. But are they truly who they appear to be? In a house laced with secrets, each sister seeks to secure her future. Which one will claim Silas’s heart–and will he agree to Liege’s arrangement?

In this sweeping family saga, one man’s choices in love and work, in friends and enemies, set the stage for generations to come. This is the Ballantyne Legacy.


Also to be released on September 1, I just received the advance copy of Shelley Shepard Gray’s Found, Book 3 of the “Secrets of Crittenden County” series, and I cannot WAIT to dive in. A contemporary Amish mystery, the entire series – set in my own home area of Crittenden County, in Kentucky – takes place in about three week’s time. You can imagine that getting my hands on the conclusion hasn’t come a moment too soon!

If you’d like to visit Crittenden County and meet Shelley, she will be appearing at the Crittenden County Public Library on Saturday, September 8, 2012!

Here’s what the back blurb has to say –

A murder is solved and a quiet Amish community must deal with the repercussions. Amid the surprising revelations, can a new-found love survive?

As the search for Perry Borntrager’s killer continues, Jacob Schrock feels like his world is about to crumble. Right before Perry went missing, he and Jacob got into a fistfight. Jacob never told anyone what happened that terrible night. He’s good at keeping secrets—including his love for Deborah, Perry’s sister. But when Deborah takes a job at his family’s store and their friendship blossoms, Jacob senses everything is about to be revealed.

Deborah has been searching for a slice of happiness ever since her brother’s body was discovered. When the police start questioning Jacob, Deborah can’t believe that the one person she’s finally allowed in could be the one responsible for her brother’s death. Will she believe what everyone seems to think is the truth . . . or listen to her heart, and hope there is still one more person who is keeping secrets in Crittenden County?


And I’ll veer off of Fall offerings for a moment to bring you an amazing book by Love Inspired author Sandra Robbins, a member of my Ken-Tenn Writers’ Group! She has taken a beloved slice of the Smokey Mountains and created characters that I want to get to know! Released August 1, this book should be available wherever Christian Fiction is sold.

A little about this book –

In the first book in the Smoky Mountain Dreams series, acclaimed author Sandra Robbins weaves a tale of love, loss, and God’s faithfulness in every circumstance.

Anna Prentiss has never wanted to be anything but a nurse. Before she can start school in New York, however, her brother sends her to Cades Cove, deep in the Smoky Mountains, to spend a summer apprenticing to the local midwife. Anna is determined to prove herself and then head to the big city.

But nothing could have prepared Anna for the beauty of the Cove, or the community and friendships she finds there. And she certainly wasn’t prepared for Simon Martin, the handsome young minister, or the feelings he arouses in her. Has God’s plan for Anna changed? Or is she just starting to hear Him clearly?

Enjoy!

Fall Fiction Favorites!

My to-be-read pile for fall is about twenty books deep–I’ll be kind and resist talking about all of them. But there are a handful written by my favorite authors that I’ve been impatiently waiting for and now they’re almost here!

Steven James has quickly become one of my favorite storytellers. He writes intense, complex thrillers that leave you on the edge of your seat from word one. This fall he has two new novels coming out!

In Opening MovesBowers Files Series prequel (Signet Select, September 20120 release), James takes the readers back in time with FBI Agent Patrick Bowers, back to the murder mystery that’s haunted him throughout the series. I look forward to gleaning more insight into what make Patrick Bowers tick.

Description: FBI agent Patrick Bowers’ first major murder investigation begins in Milwaukee, 1995. In a city still reeling from the crimes of Jeffrey Dahmer, a woman’s body is found with the lungs removed. Local cops think a Dahmer copycat is on the loose. But Patrick Bowers, working as a homicide detective for the Milwaukee Police Department, sees from the timing and location of the crime that this is not a copycat at all, but a killer with an entirely different agenda.

Then Steven James introduces his readers to a brand new protagonist, Jevin Banks, in Placebo, Jevin Banks Series #1 (Revell, October 2012 release). I don’t doubt that this new series will be just as riveting as the Patrick Bowers series.

Description: While covertly investigating a controversial neurological research program, exposé filmmaker Jevin Banks is drawn into a far-reaching conspiracy involving one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical firms. After giving up his career as an escape artist and illusionist in the wake of his wife and sons’ tragic death, Jevin is seeking not only answers about the questionable mind-to-mind communication program, but also answers to why his family suffered as they did. Rooted in ground-breaking science and inspired by actual research, Placebo explores the far reaches of science, consciousness, and faith. Readers will love this taut, intelligent, and emotionally gripping new thriller from master storyteller Steven James.

Now if you’re not into highly-detailed thrillers, then I’d recommend Borders of the Heart (Tyndale House, September release) by Chris Fabry.  Fabry has won two Christy’s and was a finalist once. He’s an author who delves deeply into the heart of multi-faceted characters. He tells his stories with rich, musical prose that you want to savor like fine chocolate. I’ve no doubt Borders of the Heart will be equally as beautiful as the rest of Fabry’s novels.

Description: Desperate to escape haunting memories, J. D. Jessup travels from Nashville to Tucson and volunteers on an organic farm. The hardened landowner has one prevailing rule: If J. D. sees an “illegal,” call the border patrol. But when an early morning ride along the fence line leads him to a beautiful young woman named Maria, near death in the desert, his heart pulls him in another direction. Longing to atone for the choices that drove him to Tucson, J. D. hides her and unleashes a chain of deadly events he could never have imagined. Soon they are running from a killer and fighting for their lives. As secrets of their pasts emerge, J. D. realizes that saving Maria may be the only way to save himself.

I do have to throw in one debut author–I’m guessing we’ll want to have tissues handy for Kathy Harris‘s novel, The Road to Mercy (Abingdon, September 2012 release).

Josh Harrison, a contemporary Christian singer, and his wife Bethany face a difficult decision that also tests their faith. A rupture in Beth’s carotid artery leaves her on the brink of death even as she’s pregnant with their first child. While Dr. Ben Abrams urges her to terminate the pregnancy to save her own life, she and Josh step out on faith and decide to carry the baby to full term.

During the next few months, Josh struggles with his faith, Beth hides a secret that may destroy their marriage. She also discovers a decades-old connection to Dr. Abrams that could change his life forever.

 

And how can I not mention our very own Shannon Vannatter?! Her sixth book, Rodeo Ashes, releases this month for Heartsong Presents book club members, and it will be available to the public in September. Yeah Shannon! Of course since I’m her critique partner I already know it’s another heart-tugging romance that Shannon excels at. I can’t wait to hold the published copy in my hands!

Description: Lacie Gentry, a young widow and mom, is struggling with the aftermath of her husband’s tragic death. When she bumps into former classmate Quinn Remington, her future is undecided. She accepts a job teaching kids to ride at Quinn’s neighboring ranch, hoping to revitalize her life with an old pastime but soon sees in Quinn a chance to move forward with new love…if she’s ready.

It’s been years since Quinn has seen lovely Lacie Gentry—the girl he always admired in high school but never came close to dating. By the time they met, Lacie was engaged to rodeo star Mel Gentry then happily married. Now Lacie’s closer than ever. The attraction is still there, but so is a secret that might end any chance of romance.

Can they rise from the rodeo ashes?

There are sooo many more, but I’ll stop for for now … well, not without giving a handful of others a quick mention.

What books are you looking forward to reading this fall?