Showing posts with label romance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label romance. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Historical Fiction Review: The Seamstress of Acadie by Laura Frantz

What it’s about:
As 1754 is drawing to a close, tensions between the French and the British on Canada's Acadian shore are reaching a fever pitch. Seamstress Sylvie Galant and her family--French-speaking Acadians wishing to remain neutral--are caught in the middle, their land positioned between two forts flying rival flags. Amid preparations for the celebration of Noël, the talk is of unrest, coming war, and William Blackburn, the British Army Ranger raising havoc across North America's borderlands.

As summer takes hold in 1755 and British ships appear on the horizon, Sylvie encounters Blackburn, who warns her of the coming invasion. Rather than participate in the forced removal of the Acadians from their land, he resigns his commission. But that cannot save Sylvie or her kin. Relocated on a ramshackle ship to Virginia, Sylvie struggles to pick up the pieces of her life. When her path crosses once more with William's, they must work through the complex tangle of their shared, shattered past to navigate the present and forge an enduring future.

My Thoughts:
This story revealed an event in history I knew nothing about. Frantz, with her attention to historical detail wove a fascinating story from the devastation of the Acadian people even as she offered a thread of hope. I love the main character, Sylvie. She’s a talented seamstress thrown into a terrible situation, yet she holds on to her faith and the strength she learned from her parents. William Blackburn is a mystery who unfolds on the pages. And Sylvie’s brother, Bleu, is a fascinating character. I thoroughly enjoyed this beautiful story. Frantz is a gifted writer and I plan to read more of her books. I received this book for free with no expectations. My opinions are my own.

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Fiction Review: The Lost Manuscript by Mollie Rushmeyer

Book Description:
It’s not just Ellora Lockwood’s home that’s being emptied as she prepares to sell—her heart seems to be empty too. Since the mysterious disappearance of her beloved Grandma June and separating from her husband, Alex, Ellora has felt adrift. Then comes an invitation from Alex to teach history at a summer program at Alnwick Castle in England. He’s even found information about the location of a medieval manuscript that was her grandmother’s obsession before she vanished.

Warily, Ellora accepts Alex’s offer. Surrounded by lush English countryside and captivating history, she pieces together clues about the manuscript’s whereabouts—and uncovers new questions. Could someone have been sabotaging her grandmother’s work? Anonymous threats lead Ellora to suspect she too may be in danger, but as she and Alex work together, she’s finding strength, new purpose and the courage to see this quest through, wherever it may lead…

My Thoughts:
I finished an early copy of The Lost Manuscript, and just want to say WOW! I enjoyed every word. Rushmeyer has such a gift for writing intriguing stories with fascinating characters, with a faith thread that’s beautiful and full of hope. When I finished the story, I wanted more. As a huge fan of adventure twisted with romance and mystery, this book hit the mark. I had a hard time picking up another book after I finished for fear it wouldn't satisfy my reading desires as this book did. I hope you’ll give Mollie Rushmeyer’s books a try. Her debut, The Bookshop of Secrets was excellent, too. I received an early copy from Netgalley. Opinions are my own.

The book is available where books are sold. Amazon

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Your Next Beach Read!

Are you gathering your beach reads? Maybe your sit by the pool reads? Or summer reads under a shade tree. I hope you'll consider Home Away from Home, set in the summer on an island.


Mt Zion Ridge Press

Friday, December 2, 2022

Introducing Tanya Eavenson

I'm happy to introduce you to Tanya Eavenson 
and her To Gain a Bodyguard books 1 & 2.

To Gain a Bodyguard - Book One

Undercover ICE agent Madi Reynolds has spent years infiltrating a human-trafficking ring, but when her life is threatened, she is forced to walk away and advised to leave the country. Undeterred, she continues her plan to attend her brother’s Christmas wedding, with her partner assigned as her bodyguard. But after seeing Brice care for her niece, she finds it's more than her life that needs protecting. Is there really any defense for the heart?

War Veteran and ICE agent Brice Johnson has been defending his country and American lives for as long as he can remember. Now, he faces the biggest assignment of his life--protect the woman he loves. He's never been one to run from a fight, but when an old flame butts in expecting a second chance with Madi, and crippling visions of war call out to him, he begins to wonder if surrender is an option after all.

To Gain a Bodyguard - Book Two

Undercover ICE agent, Brice Johnson, fell in love with his partner, but the fight to control his PTSD drove him to leave her and his assignment.

Deep undercover, ICE agent Madi Reynolds’ identity is blown, and she is involved in a hit-and-run meant to kill. Lucky to be alive after her vehicle was forced off the mountain, she finds herself in a wheelchair and facing an unknown future.

Even though the men responsible were tracked down and brought to justice, Brice’s gut tells him Madi is still not safe. Details of the investigation aren’t adding up. In secret, Brice moves to Helen, Georgia, across the street from Madi. But how long can he stay in the shadows when seeing her struggle day in and day out bombards him with memories of their happier days.

Unable to forgive himself for Madi’s accident, Brice vows to protect her, but is it enough? Is 
he enough?

Take a "Look Inside" & Purchase To Gain a Body Guard

Monday, November 28, 2022

A Christmas Blessing: A Tranquil Shores Novella (A Tranquil Shores Romance) by Judith McNees

I'm excited to share a new to me author. 
Judith McNees says her novella A Christmas Blessing 
is "a sweet romance with a Hallmark vibe." 

A Christmas Blessing can be read as a standalone, 
but it is the first in the Tranquil Shores Novella series.

For a taste of the first chapter and to purchase, go to: 

 A Christmas Blessing and click "Look Inside."

My review:
I enjoyed this quick read. McNees writes a romance filled with hope that’s perfect to set you in the holiday mood. Parker has social anxiety, something many of us deal with, while Lauren is a social butterfly, with her eyes on the wrong guys, until her friends dive in to help her out. McNees weaves the holiday spirit with faith and hope to create a delightful Christmas story. I purchased my copy. Opinions are my own.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Contemporary Romance Review: Authentically Izzy by Pepper Basham

What it’s about:

“Dear Izzy—I feel certain there’s a book-loving man living relatively nearby waiting to speak bookish to you ’til death do you part. You just haven’t met yet.”

Izzy Edgewood is a wannabe bookstore owner, quote queen, and Lord of the Rings nerd who has been waiting for Prince Charming to sweep her off her sneakered feet. But it’s hard to meet people when you spend more time with fictional humans than real ones. Which is why her pragmatist cousin Josephine decides to take Izzy’s future into her own meddling hands and create an online dating profile for the hopeful romantic.

To Izzy’s shock (and suspicion), Josie’s plan works. Soon, she’s dialoguing with a Hobbit-loving man named Brodie who lives in a small town an ocean away from her home in the Blue Ridge Mountains. But is their shared love of books, family, and correspondence enough to overcome Izzy’s fear of flying and the literal distance between them? And is a long-distance relationship even worth considering when a local author has been frequenting the library where she works and is proving to be a perfectly fine gentleman?

In this epistolary novel from award-winning author Pepper Basham, bookish dreams and happily-ever-afters collide to create a beautiful sort of magic that’s even better than fiction.

My Thoughts:

If you are a lover of literature and books, like I am, you’ve got to read Authentically Izzy. It took me a bit to get used to reading the epistolary style, but I’m so glad I kept reading. I absolutely loved the characters. Izzy is adorable and so smart. Brodie will sweep readers off their feet. And the cousins are a hoot. Truly, if you enjoy a story with lots of book references, this is the one for you. Plus the description gave me the desire to visit Brodie’s island. Much of the story brought smiles to my face as I followed Izzy on her dating journey. If you read and enjoyed Katherine Reay’s The Printed Letter Bookshop and Of Literature and Lattes, you’ll enjoy Pepper Basham’s latest. I received a free copy of the book with no expectations. The opinions here are mine.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Romance Book Review: To Win a Prince by Toni Shiloh

What it's About:
Can she stop herself from falling before she's too far gone?

As a fashion aficionado and best friend of the queen of the African island country Ọlọrọ Ilé, Iris Blakely dreams of using her talent to start a sustainable clothing line to help citizens in impoverished areas and honor the country's resources. But when she discovers that Ekon Diallo--the man who betrayed her best friend--will be her business consultant, the battle between her desires and reality begins.

Ekon Diallo has lost everything: his princely title, his material possessions, his friends, and the respect of his fellow Ọlọrans. To pay for his actions against Ọlọrọ Ilé, he's forced to assist the charismatic Iris Blakely--but he can't allow his heart to distract him from regaining his status.

Though they come from vastly different worlds, Iris and Ekon are both determined to reach their goals, and the only way to do that is to work together--if they can just keep their hearts from getting in the way . . .

My Thoughts:
I love Shiloh's books set on the island of Ọlọrọ Ilé. In this second book which follows In Search of a Prince, we find Iris, a delightful, dedicated lady, setting up a new business to help local artisans. Ekon Diallo's story continues from book one, and now he is making penance for his wrong doing that happens to mean he is working with Iris in her new business. Sparks fly in this story of redemption, forgiveness, and romance. Shiloh has written another lovely story set on an amazing island with interesting characters. If you enjoy romance that is sweet, fun, and a bit fiery you'll love To Win a Prince.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Split-time Novel Review: When Stone Wings Fly by Karen Barnett

What it’s About:

Uncovering a long-lost family story is the only way to bring her grandmother peace.

Kieran Lucas's grandmother is slipping into dementia, and, when her memory is gone, Kieran's last tie to the family she barely knows will be lost forever. Worse, Granny Mac is being tormented by flashbacks of her mother’s death and the loss of their home.

In 1931, Rosie McCauley's Smoky Mountains home is threatened by the Tennessee Great Smokies Park Commission as they create a new national park. But Rosie vows the only way they'll get her land is if they haul her out in a pine box. When a compromise offers her and her disabled sister the opportunity to stay for her lifetime, it seems too good to be true.

Ornithologist Benton Fuller arrives to conduct a bird survey for the park and the two form a tenuous bond. But their friendship broadens a rift between her and the other mountain folk who are suspicious of any government connections. Then the discovery of an illegal still in the woods near her cabin leads to a violent clash between sides that could destroy them all.

Eighty-five years later, Kieran heads back to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to find answers to her great-grandmother's mysterious death and bring peace to Granny Mac before it's too late. Park Historian Zach Jensen may be the key to locating both the answers and a precious family heirloom. But just as in the past, Kieran's needs clash with government regulations. Will Zach block her from recovering what she needs and solving this family mystery?

My Thoughts:

I anticipated reading When Stone Wings Fly, and it did not disappoint. Karen Barnett brings us another wonderful book featuring the National Parks. This time we find Rosie McCauley in the midst of the creation of the Great Smoky Mountain’s National Park, with a threat to lose her land. Benton Fuller, researching for the park system, discovers the place his heart has longed for. Two generations later, Kieran Lucas wants more than anything to bring the grandmother she’s longed for a peace in the midst of dementia. As she searches for that peace, she finds Zach, a kind-hearted man troubled by his past. Barnett set up a heart-wrenching, yet hopeful story in the midst of the beautiful Smokies. Grandma Mac’s story weaves together this beautiful tale of determination and love. Realistic, yet romantic, this story touches the heart in so many ways. If you enjoy split-time, historical, or romance, I think you’ll enjoy When Stone Wings Fly. I purchased a copy, and my opinions are my own.

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Welcome: Author, Kathleen Friesen

I’ve invited author, Kathleen Friesen to visit my blog today. Kathleen lives in Canada and has been my critique partner for a while, now.

Let's start with a few quick get to know you questions: 

Coffee, Tea, or Water?

Yes! I drink all of them, but not together. :)

Do you have a favorite song?

It’s hard to choose, but the first one that came to mind is Great is Thy Faithfulness.

Do you have a favorite season?

Spring and Fall, but Summer in Saskatchewan is wonderful, too – not too hot, and we get to go camping.

If you could travel anywhere without worry about cost, where would you travel?

Health issues are an even bigger consideration than cost, but if neither were a problem, I would love to travel across Europe, to marvel at ancient, magnificent structures and enjoy the beauty of lands that have been inhabited for thousands of years.

What genre do you enjoy reading?

Christian Fiction is my favorite. Christian Romantic Suspense, Cozy Mysteries and intriguing non-fiction also draw me.

When you arent reading or writing, what do you like to do?

Interacting with family and friends, learning – especially digging deeper into God’s Word,
gardening and baking are great ways to spend time.

What is your favorite Bible verse? Why?

Depends on the need, but I often turn to Romans 15:13, because we so desperately need hope. God is the source of hope, and I’m forever grateful He chose me to be His child.

How can we pray for you?

I always need clarity of thought, wisdom and heaps of encouragement. That I would continue to be God’s vessel, whether in writing or anything else.

Kathleen's book Hearts Unbrokenembraces the aftermath of abortion in this story of faith, love, and abundant grace.

To Logan Rockwell, Paige Donnelly is his younger sister’s flirty friend—nothing more—until he rescues her from a horrific accident and yearns to be more than her hero.

Paige’s crush on Logan and dreams of catching his attention began years ago. Although the crash brought them together, her dreams died with a choice she’d made and would always regret.
Can Paige find forgiveness for what she feels is an unforgivable wrong? Can Logan be her forever hero, or will his ambition destroy their chance at lasting love?

Let’s talk about writing:

What has been the biggest challenge for you on your writing journey?

Discouragement, especially when it comes to marketing. The whole concept scares me!

How long does it take you to write a book?

Anywhere from one to five years. It depends of my health, physical and emotional, as well as the busyness of life. Sharing good stories is a passion but not my livelihood.

If someone were reading your books for the first time, which book would you recommend they start with?

Either Melody’s Song or Hearts Unfolding, since they each begin a series. Melody’s Song is followed by Nila’s Hope and Redemption’s Whisper.

I believe you have a new release can you tell us about it?

Hearts Unbroken, book 2 in the Rockwell Chronicles, is my new release, and it shares Logan Rockwell’s and Paige Donnelly’s story. Paige has had a crush on Logan for years, but a choice she made has destroyed her dreams of ever being worthy of love. Hearts Unbroken deals compassionately and honestly with the touchy subject of abortion and its aftermath.

Hearts Unbroken releases in e-book form July 1, 2022, and I hope to have the print version ready a month later. I’m also re-releasing the first book in the Rockwell Series, a second edition with a new cover. That’s supposed to happen this summer also. When they’re all ready to go, I plan to have a sale on both!

Do you find yourself returning to a similar theme in your novels or do you have a new message with each release?

In each of my books, faith, forgiveness and hope are vital, and I love watching my characters grow to realize that God is waiting to heal their brokenness.

Is there a certain Bible passage or verse that goes along with the theme of your book?

2 Corinthians 7:10 talks about the difference between a godly grief that leads to repentance and salvation and the worldly grief that can lead to death – such a vital difference! Paige needed to learn this lesson.

Ephesians 1:7 goes with the theme, too: In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.

Did you enjoy creating one character more than another? If so, why?

Because Paige was a troubled character, I loved watching her grow, but I’d have to say I enjoyed Logan more. He appeared in Hearts Unfolding, and this story gave me the chance to get to know him better.

If you could be any of your characters, which one would it be? Why?

Tough question! I guess I’d love to be more like both Miss Glorie and Stacey Rockwell. Their wisdom and compassion inspire me.

 I have to say, I loved Miss Glory. She’s a dear character.

How do you select the names of your characters?

I look up baby names for the years they would have been born and try them out. Some I have changed mid-story, because the original names didn’t fit their emerging personalities.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

I never considered doing that, but it’s an intriguing idea!

Thank you for joining me today!

I’m excited about your book and can tell readers I enjoyed Hearts Unbroken. I love how Paige and Logan’s story begins and ends. The way God’s love and forgiveness works through Paige and Logan’s life is beautiful. Kennedy’s little boy, Levi, is a favorite of mine, he’s a sweet boy with a caring heart. Kathleen has written a wonderful story of forgiveness and starting over as Paige walked the path of grief and redemption.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Contemporary Romance Review: What Remains True by Nancy Naigle

Book Description:
Working at a little shop on Main Street in a small town is exactly the break that executive Merry Anna Foster needs following her divorce. She’s made a bet with her ex-husband that she can live on the amount of money she’s giving him in alimony. If she can do it, then Kevin will have to stop complaining and leave her alone. But after three months of this new life, will she even want to leave Antler Creek? 

Adam Lockwood, bull rider and owner of the local feedstore, is having the best year of his rodeo career. He’s also a bit distracted by the pretty new neighbor living in his old bunkhouse. But Adam has no time for matters of the heart. He’s got his future all mapped out, and that future doesn’t involve a woman just yet. It doesn’t involve parenting a little girl either. However, Carly Fowler still suddenly leaves five-year-old Zan—the daughter Adam didn’t know he had—in his care. 

Is it possible that the future holds a life even better than what Merry Anna and Adam had each dreamed of? One that includes both tenderness and even love—not just for each other but for Zan too.

My Thoughts:
A story of second chances, folks who take care of each other, and small-town charm are at the heart of What Remains True. Merry Anna (I love her name) sets out to figure out her life after she steps away from the family business and the man who broke her heart. She lands in a charming town with people who want the best for her. Adam is dead set on making his mark on the rodeo circuit, but when he finds out he may have a daughter, his life is turned upside down. I love that Merry Anna's determination to try new things gives her courage as she learns to stand up for herself, and the way Zan wraps Adam around her heart. If you enjoy a sweet romance set in a small town, this one is for you. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Romantic Fiction Book Review: Mulberry Hollow (A Riverbend Romance book 2) by Denise Hunter

Book Description:

Living life to the fullest always requires sacrifice.

Avery Robinson decided to be a physician after helplessly watching her mother lose a battle with a terrible disease. Now at risk of developing the same illness, Avery guards her heart from love. She’s driven to protect her loved ones as a workaholic doctor in the tiny mountain town of Riverbend Gap, North Carolina.

Contractor Wes Garrett is hiking the Appalachian trail, in memory of the man who died saving his life, when an illness racks his body. After an agonizing fifteen-mile hike to Avery’s clinic, he collapses on her doorstep. He recovers to find himself in debt again, this time to a beautiful doctor.

When he decides to help her renovate a rundown carriage house, the obstacles to their attraction sprout like weeds—starting with the woman waiting for Wes at the end of the trail. Will he be able to relinquish the debt he owes his best friend? And will Avery find the courage to risk everything for love?

The second book in Denise Hunter’s popular Riverbend Romance series explores what it might be like to live fearlessly and free.

My Thoughts:
I enjoyed reading Mulberry Hollow. Denise Hunter digs into the souls of her characters and discovers their needs, personalities, and quirks. Dr. Avery Robinson has thrown herself into her work at the clinic she opened, to keep her mind off of the future she believes is inevitable. Wes Garrett wants to do right by his friend, but has given himself high expectations. The two meet and their adventures begin in the beautiful setting of the Appalachian Mountains. I admire both characters for their integrity and desire to help other people. Hunter has penned a sweet romance that heals and opens doors to freedoms neither Avery nor Ross dreamed possible. Mulberry Hollow is a clean read with undertones of faith and hope. If you enjoy a good romance, you can't go wrong with Denise Hunter's stories. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Less than Two Weeks Away!

Order on Amazon


Contemporary Romance Review: Sea Glass Cottage by Irene Hannon (A Hope Harbor Novel #8)

Book Description:
Christi Reece is desperate. The one-time golden girl's life has tarnished, and a cascade of setbacks has left her reeling. She needs help, and she's certain Jack Colby is in a position to provide it.

When she shows up in Hope Harbor, however, Jack wants nothing to do with the woman who betrayed him. He's built a new life on the Oregon coast--and there's no room in it for Christi, even after she takes refuge in a charming but mysterious cottage nearby. Yet it soon becomes apparent his opinion of her may need revising . . . especially when he ends up needing her help.

Can these two hurting souls make peace with their past and open their hearts to a new beginning?

Come home to Hope Harbor--where hearts heal . . . and love blooms.

My Review:
I love visiting Hope Harbor. This time around, Christi Reece has found her way to this lovely little town in search of her old boyfriend, Jack, but not for the reasons he thinks. Jack settled in Hope Harbor to put the past behind him, but Christi's arrival upsets his quiet world, along with an unexpected surprise. Oh, and I love the cottage with windows made of sea glass-it's kind of a magical place. One of the things I enjoy about Hannon's series is the reoccurring characters in Hope Harbor, especially Charlie the artist and taco maker. Charlie is a wise sage and plays an encouraging part in a young person's life in this story. If you enjoy clean romance with a thread of faith, you'll love this series, including Sea Glass Cottage.  I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

An Interview with Debut Author Crystal Caudill and a Giveaway!

Welcome to Hope for Today's Heart, Crystal. I've been reading Counterfeit Love, and I have to say I'm loving it. You've captured my reader's heart with your incredible story of intrigue, suspense, and romance. 

Crystal Caudill
 is the author of "dangerously good historical romance," with her work garnering awards from Romance Writers of America and ACFW. She is a stay-at-home mom and caregiver, and when she isnt writing, Caudill can be found playing board games with her family, drinking hot tea, or reading other great books at her home outside Cincinnati, Ohio. Find out more at

Q: I like to read the back cover description, but its always interesting to hear the author describe their book in their own words. Will you introduce us to your debut release, Counterfeit Love? 

From the very first moment I read True Detective Stories by A. L. Drummond, I became hooked on the fascinating history of the Secret Service. For nearly three decades before the first president was protected, the Secret Services primary purpose was to thwart counterfeiters and their schemes to make money at the cost of the nations economy. Oftentimes, chasing those criminals required going undercover. Enter the inspiration for the plot of Counterfeit Love. More than just an exciting plot, I wanted a romance story where real love and relationships are portrayed as messy and complicated. The ones we love most can and usually do hurt us the worst. How we respond to those hurts profoundly impacts ourselves and those around us. When I wove all those elements together, I ended up with Counterfeit Lovea story of dangerous betrayals, malicious counterfeiters, and the second chance romance between an undercover Secret Service operative and his former fiancé. 

Six years ago, Broderick Cosgrove left his former fiancé Theresa Plane as a means of protecting her. When he discovers her entangled with the schemes of the dangerous counterfeiting ring hes investigating, he risks his career to prove her innocence and rescue her from deadly threats. Having experienced jilted love once, Theresas determined to choose a safe, secure future for herself and to rid her militant grandfather of the debt that has dogged them for years. When past and present betrayals collide, Theresa is confronted with the uncertainty of who she can trust. Can she lean into the man who once abandoned her? And what about God—the one whos stripping everything from her?

Q: In writing a historical novel, you could have chosen any place and any time. Why Cincinnati in 1884?

There are many reasons why the setting had to be Cincinnati in 1884. On a personal level, I moved to the Cincinnati area after getting married, and my initial dive into research was simply because I wanted to explore the history of my new home. However, it veered quickly away from personal to necessary. During my study of the Secret Service, I discovered that Cincinnati was one of the top five counterfeiting centers in the country during the first few decades of the Secret Services existence. I read about multiple cases in the city, and one in particular excited my imagination and kick-started the idea for Counterfeit Love. 

The reason I chose 1884 has to do more specifically with Cincinnatis flood history. In February 1883, Cincinnati experienced a catastrophic flood that devastated the local economy. Many families and businesses were still reeling from its effects when a second, even worse, flood struck exactly one year later. Sandwiching my story between the two floods gave Theresas family a final push into financial ruin and allowed for an exciting climax where waters rise again and threaten to destroy all Theresa has left. In addition, 1884 set my operatives right in the middle of a time when the Secret Service was reinventing its practices and struggling to gain autonomy in its powers as a law enforcement agency. The combination of reasons brought a wonderful dynamic to the story that was fun to explore.

Q: What situation does Theresa find herself in, through no fault of her own? Or is she really as innocent in everything going on around her?

Various betrayals work against Theresa throughout her history and present, not the least of which is the betrayal from her grandfather. While their debt developed through a combination of poor business choices, her misadventures, and reoccurring illness, it is ultimately his handling of that debt that leaves Theresa fighting for her home and her future. She is innocent of his poor choices, yet she is the one to pay the consequences and have her reputation clouded by a suspicion of criminal acts.

Even though Theresa is innocent of any criminal involvement, she is not innocent in all things. Like everyone else, she is responsible for her reactions and choices. Through her experiences growing up and now reenforced by Grandfathers betrayal, Theresa has learned to be self-reliant and rarely listens to the wise counsel of those around her. Unfortunately, her self-reliant decisions compound her problems, and her situation grows from dangerous to dire. 

Q: Why does Theresa think her grandfathers problems are hers? Does he know how involved she is in trying to pay off his debts? He has tried to protect her in all other aspects of life, why hasnt he protected her from the situation at hand? 

Family relationships can be strange things. Though not always the case, we tend to make allowances for the family members closest to us, even when they hurt us. Loyaltythough undeserved from the outsideis freely given. For Theresa, her grandfather is the only family she has left. Shes staunchly loyal to him because she recognizes the sacrifice he made in choosing to keep her with him after her parents died. Shes also keenly aware of the financial burden shes added through her many misadventures and fragile health. She wrestles with the knowledge not all of his choices have been wise or even made in her best interest, but she loves him and is loyal to him anyway. 

Knowing that Grandfather is a proud man, Theresa tried to keep her involvement in paying off debts secret. However, he isnt unaware. He doesnt want her help, nor does he approve, but he doesnt stop her either. Their debt situation has become the least of his worries, and hes more focused on getting them out of a danger far worse than unpaid debts.

Q: What is the faith message in the story? Do you always know what part faith is going to play when you start out writing a book? 

I rarely know what part faith will play when I start writing a book. Sometimes I have an idea, but rarely does it stay the same. For me, writing is an act of holding my hand open and saying, Okay, God. What do you want to do with this story?Oftentimes, it ends up paralleling a growing experience in my faith. For example, in Counterfeit Love, Theresa wrestles with whether or not she can trust and love God, even if He strips everything away from her. It is the same question I struggled through as I wrote the story and experienced two of the hardest years of my life. Id never been so stripped of my faith, and neither had Theresa. 

We all walk into our faith with preconceived notions of how God shows love to us. If He doesnt behave in a way we think He should, it rocks our world and causes us to distrust His goodness. But He is always good, and His ways are not our ways. We all reach a point in our faith when we must decide if we will choose to love and trust Him in those even if seasons of our lives. And that struggle is at the heart of Counterfeit Loves faith message.

Q: What is a brief history of why and how you first came about wanting to write novels?

A: I’ve always written as a way to process and escape the challenges of my life. I never had any intention of publishing. At. All. However, when God wants something, nothing is going to stop His plans. I’m a teacher at heart and I love to learn. For my 30th birthday, my husband bought me a ticket to a small local writer’s conference I’d seen an ad for but never told him about. (God moment #1.) I went to this conference by myself, knowing no one, and the first person I met introduced me to the concept of ACFW, and then introduced me to Gregg and Hallee Bridgeman. I’ll never forget Gregg asking me why wasn’t I pursuing publishing. Did I believe God had give me these stories? Well, yeah but… (God moment #2) I brushed it off, but he’d planted the seed. Then all but one of the classes I’d chosen on writing craft got canceled last minute, leaving only publishing classes left. (God moment #3) I left that conference certain that God was calling me to pursue publishing . . . but I fought with Him for six months over it. He won. From that point on, it’s been a journey of obedience to Him. I am excited and bless to be published, but it was honestly something I never wanted without His pushing. Now all I want is for whatever I write to glorify His name and to encourage others in their walk with Christ.

Q: What pulled you toward writing suspense over other genres, then more specifically romantic suspense, then more specifically historical romantic suspense, and...  why Christian/inspiration fiction? 

A:Wow, thats sort of a loaded question. Why romantic suspense? While I wouldnt change my childhood, it had lots of struggles that made stories of danger and adventure a necessary escape. I needed to see that if others could survive things much worse than what I was going through, I could survive this. The historical aspect came into play through my love of history, and frankly the fact that I needed an escape as far from the here and now as possible. What better place than in a completely different century?

I didnt grow up in a Christian household, and it wasnt until eighth grade, through the influence of a middle school teacher and a group of friends, that I came to know Christ personally. By then, I was into some pretty smutty reading, and it went on until I accidentally discovered Janette Okes When Calls the Heart. While the first book made an impact on me, it was the second and third books in the series that really taught me what God-honoring love looks like. It literally changed my life and what I read from then on out. With the exception of the classics and a few books labeled clean reads, I only read Christian/Inspirational fiction now. God calls each author to their own target audience, and I feel like Hes called me to write for the Christian community. Not that He wouldnt make Counterfeit Love reach those who arent, but my focus is on entertaining and encouraging those who already have faith in Christ.

Q: Counterfeit Love is the first in a series. Can you give us a tease of what to expect as the Hidden Hearts of the Gilded Age series continues?

In book two, Counterfeit Hope, readers will get a surprising view of Andrew Darlingtonan operative who has little tact and tends to see things in black in white. Readers and the heroine will discover that hes not quite the man he appears to be and is worthy of the title hero. However, hes been harboring a secret from his superiors. He spent his childhood as a member of a criminal family before being adopted by his arresting officer. When a case brings him face-to-face with his former family, his character comes into question despite all hes done to earn his sterling reputation. Matters only worsen when the woman who captures his attentionand possibly his affectionsis the wrong kind of woman for a Secret Service operative. A pickpocket and former prostitute.

In book three, Counterfeit Faith, Josiah Isaacss charming ways get put to the test when he partners with the matron of Final Chance House of Refuge. Someone is using the institution for children convicted of crimes as a cover for their participation in a green goods game, and theyre willing to silence anyone who poses a threat to their operations, including the matron and children who are forced to participate. 

Thank you, Crystal for visiting. Readers, here is Crystal's info and a chance to win prizes.

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FREE FOR EVERYONE: Anyone who wants to, can download a copy of my short story, Banking on Love, by signing up to join my newsletter at  I send out monthly newsletters that you can always unsubscribe to, but this group is the first people to know of publishing details like cover reveals, sales, newsletter subscriber only opportunities.


BOOK LAUNCH GIVEAWAY: This giveaway is going on across multiple sites.


Grand Prize - Counterfeit Love Book Box - a signed print copy of Counterfeit Love and an Always Bookedtote full with surprises related to the story to be opened when as they read and reach matching post it notes.


Runner Up - Winners choice of a signed print copy of Counterfeit Love or e-book, a pair of bookish socks, and a I Love Big Booksbookmark


2nd Runner Up - Winners choice of a signed print copy of Counterfeit Love or e-book and a Read More Bookszipper bag with paper bookmarks


Fine Print: Physical prizes only available to those living in the contiguous United States who are legally eligible to win. Non-contiguous U.S. and  International winners will get an unsigned copy of the book through Book Depository if available and the author will mail a signed book plate and bookmark.


Drawing runs from 12:01 a.m. March 1st to 11:59 p.m. (EST) March 31st. The winner will be randomly picked via Rafflecopter on April 1st.


The winner will be emailed during the first week of April and will have 7 days to respond before a new winner is drawn. Please add to your contacts list to ensure you receive your email.


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