Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Full Steam Ahead by Karen Witemeyer

Image via Google
First lines
"Passengers jockeyed for position along the steamboat Louisiana's railings, waving and calling merry farewells to the crowd lining the levee. Darius Thornton stalked determinedly across the deck in the opposite direction."
My thoughts
Nicole Renard is a proper young lady who simply wants to please her father and protect her family's legacy. Darius Thornton, a man haunted by a tragic past, is one of the most unique heroes I've encountered this year. He was definitely my favorite character.
One of my favorite authors, Karen Witemeyer delivers with Full Steam Ahead. While I have to admit, the first few chapters didn't hook me right away, Darius's presence tugged me into the story. One or two scenes reminded me of the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice (the pond scene, anyone?).
  Some sections lost my attention, only because of the technical jargon used. Steamships and boilers aren't my forte.
At times, Nicole's slightly feminist attitude did annoy me, but I appreciated her devotion to her family. The banter between her and Darius was one of my favorite aspects of the novel.
I would give this one a four out of five stars. Not my favorite, but certainly an entertaining read with a captivating hero.
 The suspense is just enough to keep you wondering, and the romance is sweet. The spiritual theme was beautiful as well we can't redeem ourselves. Only the Lord can. And He did, once and for all, on the cross.
Give this one a try by buying it here.

From the Back Cover
Nicole Renard returns home to Galveston, Texas to find her father deathly ill. Though she loves him, Nicole's father has always focused on what she's not. Not male. Not married. Not able to run Renard Shipping.
Vowing to find a suitable husband to give her father the heir he desires before it's too late, Nicole sets out with the Renard family's greatest treasure as her dowry: the highly coveted Lafitte Dagger. But her father's rivals come after the dagger, forcing a change in Nicole's plans.
After a boiler explosion aboard the Louisiana nearly took his life, Darius Thornton has been a man obsessed. He will do anything to stop even one more steamship disaster. Even if it means letting a female secretary into his secluded world.
Nicole is determined not to let her odd employer scare her off with his explosive experiments, yet when respect and mutual attraction grow between them, a new fear arises. How can she acquire an heir for her father when her heart belongs to another? And when her father's rivals discover her hiding place, will she have to choose between that love and her family's legacy?

*I received this book free from the author. This review is my honest opinion of the story.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Ten Things About Me

Aren't blogs more fun to read if you feel like you "know" the writer?
Here is a list that I came up with on the spot carefully created.
Because why shouldn't I announce how weird I am? 

1.      My writing journey started around the age of thirteen when I tasted my first sip of heartbreak. Fed up with the situation, I headed for the family computer and wrote my own happy ending. (Don’t think I was boy-crazy. I didn’t have a “real” boyfriend until I was eighteen.)

2.      Socks are my thing. I hate being barefoot on tile or wood floors but don’t mind running barefoot outside. It’s also possible that I’m known for wearing socks with flip-flops…but not in public!

3.      I’ve traveled as far north as Niagara Falls and can honestly say there is no better place than the South. Besides heaven.

4.      Once, while under a tornado warning, my family and I fled to our church. I lugged a laundry basket full of books because I didn’t want to lose them if the tornado leveled our house.

5.      I played a season of softball and took piano lessons as a kid. I can’t hit a ball to save my life or play anything resembling a song on any musical instrument.

6.      Taking walks (with short bursts of running) is my idea of athleticism. In fact, a group of friends and I walked a big circle from our road to town and back home. We started too late. When pitch black overtook the evening, we called my parents to pick us up. Country roads are spooky in the dark.

7.      I bake brownies when no one else is around so I can eat the leftover batter in peace.

8.       Sometimes I stink at sharing (see #7).

9.      I’m (im)patiently waiting for the day I can share my books with the world--or at least America.

10.  I’m not a girly girl or a tomboy (see #5). So that makes me the awkward one who reads a lot.
Random, huh?
And I didn't even mention the heart-shaped scar on my face from a four-wheeler wreck or my experience with crabs at the Outer Banks or the time I bawled while climbing a winding staircase in a lighthouse. Although I suppose that constitutes mentioning them...
Oh well. Laughing at yourself can be pretty fun.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Writer's World Blog Tour

 Hey y'all!  Natalie Monk invited me to participate in a blog tour which means I'm going to share some info on my writing. I have never shared details publicly. But, since Natalie shared, I might as well be brave along with her.
Natalie is a sweet writing friend of mine who happens to be super talented!
First question:
What are you working on?
My second full-length novel since I decided to seriously pursue publication. I've plotted the major points in the story and completed a few chapters. And I have to add that I'm lovin' this story.  
Unfortunately, in order to comply with contest rules, I can't give out much information.
That doesn't mean I can't share a quote though. 
"God dipped your gray heart into His blood and made you pure. You're pure because He is pure. That's how amazing God is."
Second question. How does your work differ from others in its genre?
First, let me tell you what I write.

 Inspirational contemporary romance set in the South (the most awesome place on earth).
For this question, I have to use a quote my pastor says frequently--"Things that are different are not the same." Pretty profound, huh?  
My writing is unique because I am me.

To be more specific, I will say that my characters tend to be a little...sarcastic. To the point where I reread a section and think, "Where did that come from?" I've made myself laugh a few times which is always fun. Also, I try to create vivid characters with realistic responses to tough situations.
In my novels, you'll find imperfect heroines and heroes being molded by the Lord into the people He wants them to be.
Humor, sarcasm, and God's grace. Three of my favorite things. 

Why do you write what you do?
There is nothing else I would rather write, and these are the stories the Lord has whispered to me.
As much as I love historicals, my voice belongs in the contemporary genre.
I write inspirational fiction because I can't imagine writing a story without including the Gospel. The Lord wrote a Book to reach me, and I pray that my writing glorifies Him and His Word.
Why do I write romance? Because those are the stories I'm drawn to. A book or a movie with a romantic thread is simply better. One of my favorite Bible stories is Ruth and Boaz. I'm not ashamed of writing romance. God Himself ordained marriage.
 Ultimately, all of my stories feature characters searching for God's Will in their lives.
"God doesn't promise you won't go through storms, but He does promise to be with you while the rain's pounding the roof."

How does your writing process work?
I sit down at a keyboard and type.
My second book had no plot until I reclined on my bed with my laptop and started "interviewing" my heroine. I discovered her favorite food, her family background, why she'd chosen her career, why she hasn't married yet, etc.
Soon, I had a story. One I love and can't wait to share with everyone. I typed and typed until I had the turning points framed out. I pondered over the first sentence, then completed the first two chapters.

For my first novel, I worked through a few drafts before I shared it with my critique partners. That one was more trial-and-error. Then I revised again. Printed the entire thing out. Edited. Now a friend (see Natalie's photo above) is beta-reading for me. Soon, I'll return the favor and delve into her novel, Heart of Valor.


That is me, y'all.
Thanks for asking me to participate, Natalie!

Here are the links to two other blogs participating in the tour:
Heather Manning
 Sara Ella

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Stuck Together by Mary Connealy

Image via Google
It's official--my favorite kind of book is one that makes me laugh.
Mary Connealy's novels undoubtedly meet that goal.
Her talent places her at the top of my Buy-All-These-Authors'-Books list. Her sarcastic wit is unbeatable. You will never be bored reading one of her historicals ( I've read more than one historical rich in detail but lacking in intrigue. Not Connealy's though!).
In Stuck Together, we get to hang out in the minds of Vince Yates and Tina Cahill, two people who are secondary characters in the previous novels in this series. Vince was the hero I most wanted to read about, so I couldn't wait to delve into Stuck Together. Tina fits him perfectly. I LOVED her spunk. I'm sure she and I would be friends (if she weren't fictional and I were alive in the 1860s).
Also, I enjoyed learning how mental diseases were viewed in the past. My grandma suffers from dementia, and although she still recognizes me, I saw her in Vince's mother. Connealy deals with tough issues in a comedic yet respectful way.
Are you familiar with Mary Connealy's novels? If not, you need to remedy that. Click here to buy Stuck Together.

Backcover Blurb
Now that she's settled in town, Tina Cahill is determined to get Broken Wheel's saloon closed for good. To that end, she pickets outside the place every afternoon. Unfortunately, so far no one has paid any attention.
Vince Yates earned the nickname "Invincible Vince" because of his reputation for letting absolutely nothing stop him. But Vince is about to face his biggest challenge yet: his past has just caught up with him. His father, mother, and the sister he didn't know he had show up in Broken Wheel without warning. His father is still a schemer. His mother is showing signs of dementia. And his surprise sister quickly falls for one of Vince's best friends. Vince suddenly has a lot of people depending on him, and Tina doesn't approve of how he's handling any of them.
With nearly every other man in town married off, Vince finds himself stuck with strong-willed Tina over and over again. Of course, Tina is the prettiest woman he's ever seen, so if he could just get her to give up her crazy causes, he might go ahead and propose. But he's got one more surprise coming his way. Tina's picketing at the saloon has revealed a dark secret that could put everyone Vince loves in danger.
*I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.