Sins of the Past – a Novella Collection

  Sins of the Past Novellas vary, in length and in quality.  In a full-length novel, the author has more time to develop the plot and characters. The novella has to contain all of the story elements in a more compact package. It’s not an easy job – harder, in some ways, than writing a long book. The author has to develop a complete plot, create well-developed characters and (usually) write a believable romance  in a much shorter form. Novellas come in different sizes, usually between 25,000 and 45,000 words. Multi-author novella collections are popular, especially at Christmastime. They can be inexpensive and fun introduction to new authors. This novella collection from three distinguished writers of romantic suspense, was published one year ago, and I have already listened to it twice. Obviously, I liked it! All three of the authors are on my “read everything list.” Missing Dee Henderson’s O’Malley series is one of the most popular and enduring family sagas in its genre. I’ve read them all at least twice, so I had high expectations for her contribution to this collection, Missing. I was disappointed. As I considered it later, I decided that her full-length books are paced in Read More

Front Window by Chautona Havig ~ a review

Front Window, the newest book in the Hartfield Mysteries series by Chautona Havig,  is now available on Amazon! I have to admit, I’m a sucker for a new Chautona Havig book. It’s partly self-preservation – she modeled a character on me one time, and it was not one of the good guys.  In fact.. well, never mind. Figure it out for yourself. It’s someone in this series.           Book #1 – Manuscript for Murder   Because of that, or in spite of it, the Hartfield Mysteries are my favorite Chautona Havig series. It is such a creative concept – in the first book, Manuscript for Murder, Alexa Hartfield is an eccentric mystery writer living in an idyllic small town. She’s a free spirit, dressing in clothing from different eras to suit her mood and the book she is writing, living alone and enjoying it. Then someone starts turning her murder mysteries into a blueprint for their own killing spree, and Alexa Hartfield teams up with an unusual police officer to solve the case.  This book just delighted me. I loved Alexa. She’s so “comfortable in her own skin.” The pace of the (obviously incipient) relationship with Read More

Feta & Freeways by Susan M. Baganz

  Feta & Freeways by Susan M. Baganz is finally available for sale on Amazon! I have enjoyed all of the books I’ve read by this author, so I’ve been looking forward to this one. Like her other Orchard Hill books, the characters are complex. Susan M. Baganz portrays people with human strengths and weaknesses – people you can visualize and connect with, even when they are celebrities like Niko and the rest of the successful Christian band, Specific Gravity.   A rich story, skillfully crafted As with the other books, I was struck by the cadence of her writing. She transitions smoothly from stress-filled scenes to more calm scenes to emotional scenes. Some of her characters have messy, painful backgrounds and some are from more stable environments. It is a good mix. Ms. Baganz is also good at creating realistic communities and family relationships. Her characters do not live in a bubble. Glorifying God The spiritual condition of her characters is sometimes rock solid, but it’s often like the rest of us – believing, but still occasionally anxious and confused. Niko and Tia don’t doubt the saving grace of God, but at times they muddle along hoping they are Read More

The California Gold Rush Romance Collection – review and giveaway!

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 Read More

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 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.         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 Read More

Miranda Warning – An Audiobook Review

I just finished reading Miranda Warning (A Murder in the Mountains – Book One) by Heather Day Gilbert. I thought it would be a straightforward mystery, but it turned out to be a multi-faceted introduction to what I expect will be a long series. NOTE – This kindle book is FREE on Amazon right now, and when you buy it (for FREE), you can get the audible version for $1.99.  I highly recommend it, and I think you will want to follow up with the next in the series, “Trial by Twelve.” The author has created a refreshingly original world. I wouldn’t classify the book as “Christian Fiction.” Instead, Ms. Gilbert writes from a Christian worldview, and her setting includes a realistic mix of Christians and nonbelievers in community. None of them are perfect, and they live naturally according to their convictions. The heroine is a unique character. She bears some scars from a dysfunctional childhood, but she went to college, married into a healthy family and doesn’t wallow in angst. As a mother-in-law, I was pleased to see the loving relationship between Tess and Nikki Jo. The politically conservative characters are portrayed as intelligent and sensible instead of rednecks Read More