Tuesday, July 31, 2012

August's Author of the Month: Laura Frantz

It was a real treat to feature Regina and Keli last month.  Didn't you love it?!  I hope you enjoyed their books, and getting to know them as much as I did.  They are wonderful ladies!

This month I’m tickled to be spotlighting a fellow Washington state resident!  Laura Frantz is a magnificent author.  When I started reading HCR’s last year, hers were some of the very first I feasted upon.  And what a feast they were!  Her writing is beautiful, the stories compelling, and the characters real. Laura has three published titles and I’m so excited that her fourth book, LOVE’S RECKONING will be released next month on September 1st!!  You’ve pre-ordered it, right?!?!  Good.

Her published titles are:  THE COLONEL’S LADY, COURTING MORROW LITTLE and THE FRONTIERSMAN’S DAUGHTER…in no particular order.  *wink * Haven't read them?!   Shame, shame, shame…  *just teasing *  You will really love them!!  I have reviews for all of her books, so just click on the title to read the review.  (If you have a hankerin' for some serious male-deliciousness, Frantz's books will never disappoint!  Her leading men are out of this world!)

I’ve had a wonderful time communicating with Laura.  It’s very clear that she has a strong love for the Savior, and she believes that He has called her to share her gift with the world—and I’m so glad that she has!

As with the other authors, I’ve asked Laura a few questions, so here are her answers!

First, tell us about yourself!

I'm a Kentuckian living in the woods of Washington State with my husband, Randy, and our two sons, Wyatt and Paul. I've written stories since age 7 but never thought much about publishing them. My brother, a pastor/missionary living in Spain, convinced me . He believes each of us have gifts that are meant to be shared. So my books are the result. When I'm not writing, I love to read, take walks, bike, garden, cook and write snail mail letters. Oh, and I've just learned to knit!

Where did you get the inspiration for your story Love's Reckoning?

Most of my story inspiration comes from real history like letters and newspapers, diaries and biographies. For Love's Reckoning, I came across a bit of research concerning Kentucky gunsmiths. The apprentices back then often married into the master gunsmith's family, sort of a custom or tradition. I found this very intriguing and wondered... What if there wasn't only one daughter but two? What if both those sisters fell in love with the apprentice and wanted to marry him? So this new story was born. I think it might be my most heart-tugging yet!

What is your "go-to" Historical Christian Romance book?

There are many fine authors in both the CBA and general market. But my absolute "go-to" for historical romance is Liz Curtis Higgs, partly because she writes in my favorite time period, the 18th-century, and partly because she writes so beautifully and richly. I can't read anything for days after devouring one of her books. They're that remarkable. My favorites are her latest duo, Here Burns My Candle and Mine is the Night. I'm going to Scotland with her soon on a tour and can't wait!

What is your favorite scripture or scriptures and why!?

I've always loved Psalm 139 which my mom memorized with me when I was a child. But my favorite verse at the moment (I change favorites often!) is Colossians 3:23:
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.
I love this verse because it applies to anything you do - not only writing but being a wife and mother and so many other things. If we do it out of love for Jesus then it's a beautiful thing.

Is anyone interested in WINNING her new book in this month's give-away?!  I figured you were!  If you would like to be entered to win LOVE'S RECKONING, please comment on this post, and tell us if you are a long-standing fan of Laura's (and which of her book's is your favorite!) or if you are just getting familiar with her and which book of hers you are planning on reading first!  Laura says the actual copy of the book won't be available until the end of the month, so if you win you will have to wait a few weeks to get it...just FYI.  But who cares, right?!  The drawing will be one week from today--August 8th!!  Yay!!

Thank you, Laura for sharing your gift with us!  It's a joy to get to know you better!

God bless you!!

Monday, July 23, 2012

To Have and To Hold

I have had this book since it was released last September, and I just now got around to reading it!  What a fool I was to wait so long!! I fell in love with the cover right away—talk about dreamy romance! *sigh*  I love it! I know you will fall in love with the story too. *wink*

Book Rating:  Up All Night'er

This is a great novel!! If you are looking for something with a quick start, this might not be it, but there is a lot of fun action, and some mystery, too.... You will enjoy it for sure!

I must say that Peterson always does a wonderful job with the spiritual aspect of things, and you will always be uplifted and enlightened by her Christian message!!

Audrey’s father is suffering from the effects of his life of alcohol, and will soon die.  They've recently moved back to his ancestral home on Bridal Veil Island, and now investors are trying to buy up the land to build a resort...

Marshall Graham—holy crud, love that name!—is a contractor and Audrey’s father asks him to “look out for her” when he’s gone.  At first Marshall thinks Audrey will want nothing to do with him…but that eventually changes!!  *teehee*

There is excitement, and mystery, etc.  It has all the elements of a good story! Read it and let me know what you think!!

Happy Reading!
Buy it!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Fit to be Tied

I was in the mood for something light and fun.  So, I picked up FIT TO BE TIED by Robin Lee Hatcher.  I’m never disappointed in her books.  They aren’t one’s that I would pick up and read over and over, but they are fun, entertaining and uplifting stories.

Book Rating:  Up All Night’er

I easily finished this book in a day.  There’s nothing huge, nothing shattering that happens in the story—it’s just a simple tale of one girl’s “real life” emotions and experiences as she falls in love.

Cleo Arlington is happier in jeans and a cowboy hat, riding one horse while wrangling another, than she is wearing a nice dress and sitting in a fancy parlor.  She has a strong desire to marry and have children, but she’s afraid that maybe she’s lost her chance.

English aristocrat Sherwood Statham still suffers from the war—emotionally and physically.  He has been attempting to drown his horrors in drinks and women, but his exploits have gone too far this time and his father is sending him to American for a year.

These two characters are a very unlikely pair.  Their growth and development through the book was nice and the supporting characters are also very likable.  The romance was good as well, but I actually wasn’t very convinced that these two were well matched!  I had a hard time seeing what was so interesting about the other person and why they would be attracted—especially since they were SO different from one another.

Also, I tried, but I couldn’t like Sherwood.  There was nothing endearing about him, in my opinion.  If you are looking for a book with a dashing leading-man that leaves you drooling at the end, this one isn’t it.  Also, Cleo isn’t your regular leading lady…she may be a disappointment to you if you need a real damsel-in-distress kind of thing (which I usually go for!) where the lady is beautiful and needs to be rescued, etc.

All of that being said, I do think it’s a nice little read when you need something fast and fun.  So if you haven’t read it yet, give it a shot and let me know what you think!

(PS:  This book is the #2 book in The Sisters of Bethlehem Series...you don't have to read them in order...they are fine to read on their own.)

Happy Reading!
Buy it!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Touching the Sky

Bethany House was kind enough to give me a copy of Tracie Peterson’s book TOUCHING THE SKY to read and review.  It’s the #2 book in the series called Land of the Lone Star.  A great series! And isn't the cover pretty?  I typically don't like to see faces, but this one didn't bother me.

Book Rating: Up All Night’er

The overall story was fabulous! I really got hooked into the plot very fast! The characters are wonderful (can you say Brandon...yum!) and the romance was great--but I would have done with another kiss! *teehee*

Laura Marquardt is the older sister of Carissa, who is marrying a former Confederate.  Laura suspects that all is not well with her sister’s fiancĂ© Malcolm—she overhears him talking suspiciously and isn’t sure what to do about it.

Captain Brandon Reid (Hello, ladies!  Another man in uniform—love it!) is told to keep an eye on Malcolm, which he does gladly.  But, at the same time he’s falling for Laura and he’s worried that she will think he is only interested in her so he can have more access to Malcolm.  Are you following all of this?  Good.

Over time the two love-birds begin a relationship, as you may have guessed.  There really is good tension, no doubt.  Great excitement and a captivating storyline! I really had a lot of fun with the action at the end!

So, bottom line: should you read it?  Most definitely.

Happy Reading!


Ladies, I have been dealing with a bit of a conundrum.

I'm wondering if you've ever felt this way...

So, I know I announced after reading SHORT-STRAW BRIDE that it was my new favorite--and I do really love it!  But it's not my go-to book.  TO WIN HER HEART is my go-to book.  I'm always wanting to go back and read it again and again--even if I just flip to the parts that I really like.  Does that mean TO WIN HER HEART is my favorite?  I kinda think it does...

Levi Grant is super-human awesome!  He's almost the main reason I love that book so much.  I would write him fan-mail if I could....*teehee*
And the conflict in the story seems so real to me--like it could actually happen for people.

There are two other books I feel the same way about:  THE MEASURE OF A LADY and A BRIDE MOST BEGRUDGING.   All three of these books are the ones I always go back to.  No matter how many books I read.

That being said, I have a list of books I want to read that's roughly 53 miles long...so its very likely I could find a different "go-to", but I'm not so sure.

What are your go-to books?  And why do you always go back to them?  Let me know!!  I just don't think my "to-be-read" list is quit long enough.  *wink*

Lastly, if you haven't already heard, TO WIN HER HEART has been nominated for a Carol Award!  Which is FABULOUS!  I'm so happy for Karen!!

Happy Reading!!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Just for giggles...

I've been wanting to do this for a while!  Like I said before,  I usually don't like the covers of the books to mess with my own interpretation of what the characters look like.  I prefer to pick a face I am familiar with and attach it to the character (I don't always do this--I often just make it up in my head, ...but it's oh, SO fun!!) and imagine that person/face while I read the book.  Ya know what I mean?

Well, to help me explain, here are the top four "males" that I love reading about and their corresponding "faces".  *teehee*


Cassius McLinn: (THE COLONEL'S LADY)

Levi Grant:  (TO WIN HER HEART)

Johnnie Parker:  (THE MEASURE OF A LADY)

Now that you have seen my dreamy-dudes, please tell me I'm not the only one who has ever done this!  *teehee*  I am painfully aware that I'm acting like a 13-year-old by doing this, but I can't help it.  Maybe I never really grew up...  *wink*

Monday, July 9, 2012

Winner of the Book Give-Away!

First, let me say a big THANK YOU to those of you who commented and entered to win!  There will likely be another give-away next month so keep checking when the time comes!

I'm pleased to announce that CANDY is the winner of the book give-away this time around!

Congratulations, Candy!

Happy Reading, everyone and have a great week!!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Book Give-Away!

So, to those of you who do not already own a copy of Keli Gwyn's new book A BRIDE OPENS SHOP IN EL DORADO, CALIFORNIA, today is your lucky day!  You can WIN this book in my most recent give-away!
You will be entered to WIN if you comment on THIS POST!
The drawing will be next MONDAY so you have a few days, but I suggest commenting right now!  teehee  *wink*
The cool thing about this give-away is that Keli will sign the book for you, when you win!!!  So awesome!
Thank you, Keli!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California

Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls!  Step right up, and be prepared to feast your minds on one of the most delightful new novels of the year!  And one of the most delightful I’ve ever read.  A BRIDE OPENS SHOP, welcome to my top ten!

Book Rating:  Best of the Best

This book won some raving reviews from many authors that I love and admire.  Folks, I am very pleased to tell you that I  whole-heartedly add my own enthusiasm and praise!

My copy of the book arrived in the mail last week—just before I had to prep for and attend a family reunion.  Talk about torture!  *teehee *  I started it--and loved it, but wasn't able to pick it up again until today!  Once I did, I couldn’t put it down.

Elenora Watkins and her daughter Tildy are on their way to be part of a partnership of a mercantile in El Dorado, California.  But when Miles Rutledge finds out his new partner is actually a woman, he rescinds on his original offer.  (He doesn’t realize that was the biggest mistake he’s ever made!)  But, Elenora won’t be stopped.  So, she opens her own shop across the street!  That is where all the fun begins, my friends!

The characters are pure delight, and the story was the perfect balance of excitement and romance.  No “cheese” here, people.  I loved it all!  The way their relationship develops is just what a reader wants—not too fast and not too slow.  Both the leading man and the leading lady are lovable and you see their growth as individual people as well as the growth of their love.  Bravo, Keli!!

Let me say a few words about Miles.  Holy guacamole, ladies!  So dreamy!  He is definitely up there with my top ten guys as well.  Tough, yet gentle.  Rugged and romantic!  Swoon!!  I think I’m going to ask my husband to grow a mustache.  “Oh, Robby dear….?”

You can tell that Keli did her research for everything that went into this story.  It’s beautifully descriptive, and you feel full and satisfied after reading.  You’re gonna wanna go back and read it again though, I promise.

Congratulations, Keli!  I can’t wait until your next book!

Happy Reading!
Buy it!