Rachel J Good

The California Gold Rush Romance Collection – review and giveaway!

ca-gold-rush

The California Gold Rush Romance Collection is a delightful collection of stories from nine talented and very creative authors. The plots are diverse, and I’ve never seen such an eclectic group of heroes and heroines in one book!

Enter below to win a free paperback copy! Only three days left!

 

 

Is it possible there’s an inheritance far greater than gold, or is Thalia destined to remain empty, like the ghost town she inhabits? – Gold Haven Heiress by Jaime Jo Wright

I enjoyed all of the stories in this book, but I was especially interested in Jaime Jo Wright’s Gold Haven Heiress,  which is an unusual love story with interesting characters. Jack Taylor is a man who grew wealthy by taking advantage of gold rush miners. He’s a changed man now, and he’s using his ill-gotten riches to help others by building a community in Gold Haven, an abandoned goldmining town, to be a place of redemption, where people can come to be healed and live safely together. He didn’t expect to find the cast-off “soiled dove” Thalia Simmons hiding in the deserted town, and while he is drawn to her, she struggles to reconcile concepts of a caring man and a loving God with her painful history.

Gold Haven Heiress, part of The California Gold Rush Romance Collection

Thalia is well-drawn. Ms. Wright did a good job of portraying the prickly, shell-shocked woman. Throughout the book, her impulsive words, actions and choices are consistent with her character and circumstances. I liked the development of her friendship with Celeste. It’s hard to squeeze a story into a short novella, but this author succeeded in bringing it all together – characters, setting, plot and all.

Civilizing Clementine was another fun story in this collection, and The Golden Cross was an interesting story about the Chinese culture during the gold rush.

The California Gold Rush Collection

The Price of Love by Amanda Barratt
The Best Man in Brookside by Angela Bell
Civilizing Clementine by Dianne Christner
The Marriage Broker and the Mortician by Anne Greene
The Lye Water Bride by Linda Farmer Harris
A Sketch of Gold by Cynthia Hickey
Love is A Puzzle by Pam Hillman
The Golden Cross by Jennifer Rogers Spinola
Gold Haven Heiress by Jamie Jo Wright

NOTE: You do not need to sign up for my newsletter to enter the contest unless you choose to do so. I will NOT be saving the emails you use to enter the contest. I will notify the winner by email and here on my website.

 

 

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Rachel J Good

Jaime Jo Wright – Author Interview

Jamie Jo Wright - Author Interview at www.catheswanson.com

 

I met Jaime Jo online through the American Christian Fiction Writers, but even though we both live in the land of Packers and Bratwurst, we haven’t yet met in person. I recently read one of her novellas, Gold Haven Heiress, in the California Gold Rush Romance Collection, and asked if I could interview her on my website. She graciously said yes and donated a paperback copy of the book for me to give away!  Barbour makes beautiful paperback novella collections. This one has covers that open and fold out to reveal western landscapes, and the paper is beautiful soft and heavy with deckle edges. Beautiful. See the raffle form below for your chance to win it!

 

 

 

Welcome, Jaime! It’s fun to have you here.  I know authors have the best book recommendations, so tell me… what are you reading now?

I am currently in between books, actually. But LOVED reading Kara Isaac’s “Close To You” and Joanne Bischof’s “Lady and the Lionheart”. They were both so well written and have stuck with me far longer than most books I’ve read this year!

Do you have a favorite contemporary author?

Well, it sounds redundant now, lol, but I LOVE Kara Isaac. She’s new to contemporary romance but has such wit and voice I can’t get enough of her.

What’s your favorite genre for your personal reading?

I waffle between mysteries and historical romance. It’s a bonus if they’re combined!

What one book – other than the Bible! – has most greatly influenced your life?

Ohhh, that’s a great question! I was greatly impacted by Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Cost of Discipleship”. It pretty much hits you between the eyes in how seriously you’re going to live your faith.

How about writing? What’s your favorite genre for writing?

I love historical romance with twists of mystery and suspense!

What is the hardest part of writing for you?

Time. It’s a challenge to write with a full time job and two kids under the age of 6. Balancing the home and church also makes it a tad sketchy to eek out hours of writing time.

That’s a full plate! What is your “day job”?

I’m the Director of Employee Sales, Development & Associate Relations for a medium-sized corporation. It keeps me hopping for sure!

What does your writing process look like?

Well, considering time is difficult to find, it’s more like I write scenes in my head during the day and then grab 15 minute snippets to dictate them down on my phone app or type them on my laptop. Ideally, I get an hour or two at night after the kids are in bed to really focus. Coffee is always, ALWAYS involved.

Do you ever experience writer’s block?

I don’t! I know that sounds weird, but if I’m not sure what to write I usually just plow ahead and write anyway. It often gets deleted, but if I just sit and stare at the laptop then I’m definitely not moving ahead.

Do you know the ending of a book when you start writing it?

Usually. I typically have the skeleton framework and then fill in the rest on the go.

Gold Haven Heiress

Gold Haven Heiress by Jaime Jo Wright, in The California Gold Rush Romance Collection

 

Gold Haven Heiress had some emotionally intense and some lighthearted scenes. Do you laugh and cry as you write your books? How emotionally attached do you get to your characters? If they were real, would they be your friends?

I’m not a crier, and I don’t usually get attached to my characters on an emotional level. I love creating them, molding them, and seeing them come to life, but they are fictional after all, and the fact that I have their conversations in my head is scary enough. Lol If they were real? Some of them might be my friends. Some of them would probably drive me nuts. LOL!

What are your current projects?  Do you have any books coming out soon?

I’m currently working on my next novella, releasing in July 2017. It is part of Barbour’s “Of Rags and Riches Romance Collection – a Gilded Age Novella Collection”. My novella is titled: “The Flyfisherman’s Nymph”.

I understand that’s set in Wisconsin, and I am looking forward to it! In the meantime, where can we find you online?

Web site: www.jaimejowright.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/jaimejowright

Twitter: www.twitter.com/jaimejowright

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/jaimejowright

Instagram: www.Instagram.com/jaimejowright

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/13916081.Jaime_Jo_Wright

Periscope: @jaimejowright

 

Thank you for the gorgeous book you sent me. I loved it, and I’m glad to have the opportunity to share it with one of my own readers. NOTE: You do not need to sign up for my newsletter to enter the contest unless you choose to do so. I will NOT be saving the emails you use to enter the contest. I will notify the winner by email and here on my website.

Enter to win a paperback copy of The California Gold Rush Romance Collection!

 

 

 

Professional coffee drinker Jaime Jo Wright resides in the hills of Wisconsin writing spirited turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Coffee fuels her snarky personality. She lives in Neverland with her Cap’n Hook who stole her heart and will not give it back, their little fairy Tinkerbell, and a very mischievous Peter Pan. The foursome embark on scores of adventure that only make her fall more wildly in love with romance and intrigue.

Jaime lives in dreamland, exists in reality, and invites you to join her adventures at jaimejowright.com.

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Rachel J Good

The Baron’s Blunder by Susan Baganz

This delightful novella from Susan Baganz is part of the  “Love is…” series by Prism Book Group, looking at 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a. The Baron’s Blunder illustrates verse six:  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth.  

The Baron's Blunder by Susan BaganzThe hero is dashing and brave – and so is the heroine

Lord Charles Percy and the Honorable Henrietta Allendale are both independent, capable people who want to continue in their current single condition. He enjoys the clandestine activities that keep him busy, but an impulsive lie told to avoid discovery leads to complicated deception. She knows he’s hiding something. When Lord Percy confesses the truth, Henri isn’t sure she can trust anything else he says. As much as they enjoy life and engaging in exciting adventures without the encumbrance of a spouse, however, there’s no denying the attraction that pulls at both of them.

 

 

 

The Baron's Blunder by Susan Baganz

 

I enjoyed the pacing of this adventure romance. The main and secondary characters were likable people who seemed more multi-dimensional than those sometimes found in Regency romances. I especially liked the heroine, who managed to be independent without becoming aggressive about it or behaving in an anachronistic way.

Rose Hill Regencies

The Baron’s Blunder is a prequel to Ms. Baganz’s upcoming Rose Hill Regencies, a series of entertaining Regency romance novels for the inspirational fiction market. I look forward to them!

The Baron’s Blunder is available for pre-order now and will be delivered to your kindle device Friday, August 26.

Watch for the author’s upcoming novel, Feta and Freeways,  available for preorder now, releasing on September 16, 2016. It’s the newest book in her Orchard Hill series, and you won’t want to miss it.

Nikolos Acton is the lead singer of a Christian Band, Specific Gravity, struggling to make it in the industry after an unplanned break.

Tia Bartel loved Niko for the longest time, but it wasn’t until she stepped in to save his life that he finally realizes what has been there all along. Is it too late for him? Could a relationship between them work after years of ignoring her? How would he ever convince her he’s worthy of her trust?

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Rachel J Good

Love Comes Calling – A Book to Chew On

I chose that catchy title because I normally write bite-size book reviews, and I have a little more to say about this one.  A few days ago, I needed a pleasant story – nothing too thought-provoking – to listen to while I did some sewing.  Siri Mitchell’s book Love Comes Calling looked perfect.

And I loved it. Just loved it.

Love Comes Calling

I didn’t need the author’s note at the end to tell me that the heroine had ADHD. Any mother or teacher (and many adults who don’t even have children) recognized it on page one. When I read the Amazon reviews later, I was surprised to see that not everyone enjoyed it as much as I did. They found the heroine: confusing, annoying, immature, flighty, scatterbrained, selfish, insecure, irresponsible, repetitive, foolish and impulsive. Well, then…  the author did a fabulous job of creating an authentic heroine.  That is exactly how such a girl would feel and appear to others.

Some reviewers found the stream-of-thought style confusing because the heroine’s thoughts were so random and jumpy, and I think it is likely that her personality is better captured in the audiobook than in the written format. The reader, Morgan Hallett, is good. She perfectly captured all of the characters, and most especially the heroine.

The story is set in prohibition-era Boston, among wealthy families and working girls. It  The settings and situations were all very interesting, from the work environment at the telephone company to Ellis’s attempts to create a seating plan for an important dinner.

The heroine had flaws – ordinary, human flaws unrelated to her ADHD – that I could identify with. She believed that she was an embarrassment to her family, but in spite of that (or perhaps because of it), she believed that she was responsible for fixing everything. She tried.  She failed sometimes, but usually she muddled through.  She set up a vague ambition and thought it was her destiny, but she continually set it aside and lived in the moment. Her heart wasn’t in it – she just felt like she ought to have a dream.

Her good intentions make her likeable. The fact that the hero likes her just as she is makes him likeable, too. The girls at the telephone company were fun secondary characters, with more personality than one might expect for their situation. The only character I didn’t particularly care for was the policeman, but he was necessary to the plot.

When I downloaded it, I was under the impression it was Christian fiction. There is nothing offensive in it, but I would not categorize it that way.

 

Rachel J Good

Bite-size Book Reviews

These were all new, first-time reads for me, from some of my favorite authors. It was a nice variety of styles and time periods.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Random Acts of Murder by Christy BarrittRandom Acts of Murder, audiobook by Christy Barritt, read by Sandy Rustin

This book is the first in a new series. The heroine is appealing, with her good intentions, insecurities and quirky personality.  She fled the scene of a murder and now she’s being framed for it. The hero is an old high school classmate, all grown up and in charge of the murder investigation.  Ms. Barritt does a good job of pacing the mystery and concealing the identity of the killer.  I would have liked to see more about the heroine’s spiritual and physical conditions, but it is a light-hearted story with lots of other action.  The supporting characters seem interesting; I hope they are developed further in the rest of the series.

 

Snow on the Tulips by Liz TolsmaSnow on the Tulips, audiobook by Liz Tolsma, read by Susan Denaker

Ms. Tolsma has created a vivid portrait of a small Dutch village and its residents near the end of WWII. This is an intense, suspenseful story as much as a romance. The aggression of the Nazi troops was frightening and sad.  A fascinating theme was the relationships of the two sisters near the end of the story. They were both scared and heartbroken, begging their men to not leave them. One man would not fight or resist the enemy, and the other was active in the resistance movement.  The plights of the women, however, were the same.

 

 

A Lady of High Regard by Tracie PetersonA Lady of High Regard, audiobook by Tracie Peterson, read by Barbara Caruso

I liked the natural, dynamic family relationships in this book, and I found the heroine’s balanced behaviors refreshing. In spite of her belief that she was the only one who could save the world, she didn’t always rush headlong into dangers; sometimes she made a decision to be obedient and sensible. I would have liked to see the women from the docks portrayed with a little more intelligence and energy.  The story was a little slow at first, but it picked up momentum and the ending was exciting.

 

 

Buried Secrets by Irene HannonBuried Secrets, audiobook by Irene Hannon, read by Therese Plummer and Jennifer Grace

This is the first in Ms. Hannon’s new Men of Valor series. The romantic relationship is different in that almost as soon as they meet, the hero and heroine admit their attraction to each other and make it clear that they are not interested in a casual dating relationships. They can not become involved while they are working on the mystery, so they agree to wait to start seeing each other until the case is solved. It’s a nice twist on romantic suspense. The villain of the story, who is revealed almost immediately, is very villainous, creative and careful. The plot is revealed steadily. The ending, when the villain attacks the heroine, feels a little contrived, but otherwise it’s a solid story from one of my favorite authors.

 

A Matter of Character by Robin Lee HatcherA Matter of Character, audiobook by Robin Lee Hatcher, read by Kathy Garver

I read and enjoyed the first two books in this series – fluffy fun stuff – and picked up this one to finish the trilogy.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that this book was excellent! The characters were solid – much more complex than in the previous two books. There were so many interesting layers to the plot and such conflicting goals that it was hard to imagine a happy ending, but of course all the loose threads were gathered up nicely and tied in a bow.

 

 

Rachel J Good

Bite Size Book Reviews

 

I listened to audiobooks this week while I worked on a number of household, quilting, sewing, and crafting projects. These are some of my favorite contemporary writers of Christian fiction in a variety of genres, and they were all first-time reads.

 

No One to Trust, audiobook by Lynette Eason

I always watch my library for Ms. Eason’s new books. Her plotting is exceptionally tight.  This one does have a good storyline, but the characters were not her best. I wanted to slap the heroine and shake the hero. She never stopped harping on the fact that he had lied to her, even when the reason was clearly and repeatedly justified. I would have liked him better if he was just a little assertive.  That said, the plot, action and mystery were good.  The resolution was creepy.

 

 

 

Nothing but TroubleNothing but Trouble, audiobook by Susan May Warren

A fun summer read, but don’t underestimate it. The mystery is solid. The family characters and their relationships are enjoyable. The history between the first hero and the heroine creates a sensitive tension that gives them depth but doesn’t overshadow the lightheartedness of the book. I found the second hero kind of lightweight, and I’d already developed a sentimental attachment to the first.

 

 

 

 

Protection for Hire Protection for Hire, audiobook by Camy Tang

This is the first book I have read by this author. It was especially interesting because of the Japanese-American heroine and culture. All of the characters are well-drawn. I was impressed by Ms. Tang’s skill in balancing the  complexities of the heroine’s history and relationships  with the action of the story.

 

 

 

 

 

sabotagedSabotaged, audiobook by Dani Pettrey

I started this book with the knowledge that it is the last in the series.  The love story was okay – not as interesting as in the other books – but the rest of it was excellent! Action, suspense, mystery, adventure, great characters, satisfactory conclusion. Good spiritual content.  I look forward to her new series.

 

 

 

 

 

vote of confidenceVote of Confidence , audiobook by Robin Lee Hatcher

Lighthearted historical western romance. The characters and plot were fun. The feminism was the good kind – practical and with a positive result, without militant drama or whining.  I look forward to the sequel.

 

DISCOUNTED PRICE! (subject to change, but as of May 9, this kindle book is only $1.99 at Amazon)