Sunday, October 17, 2010

First Love, Michelle Sutton

Josiah and Tara had enjoyed acting in their high school plays. They had also been each other's first lover... in fact; most of the time they'd spent together had been in Tara's bed. When Josiah became a Christian, he left Tara to go to college and didn't look back.

Four years later, Josiah is back in town when his father has a near-fatal heart attack. When they meet up again they realize how much their separation had hurt each of them. But now Tara is a Christian and is trying to live a life that is pleasing to God.

Josiah wants Tara back, but neither knows how to relate to each other without the physical intimacy they once shared. They are determined to do things right this time, but find it more challenging than they'd anticipated.

She hated to spell it out for him, but it seemed necessary to prevent him from getting the wrong idea. "You're here for a haircut. Don't expect more."

Raising his hands in mock surrender, Josiah chuckled, "Whoa, there. I didn't mean anything by it, I swear."

"Good." Grabbing the black cloth to drape over his shirt, she flipped it open and then pointed to the chair. He sat and she tied it around his neck, a stress headache creeping into her head. Irritation shredded her nerves. Rather than sitting, he peered at her with an incredulous look in his eyes.

"Come on," she winced and touched her forehead. "I don't have much time."

"Aren't you gonna..." Josiah pointed at his hair and nodded toward the sink.

"No." She snapped the cloth again. "Just sit."

"But, that's the best part." Ruffling his hair with both hands, he sighed. "All right, but my hair is sweaty and dusty. I think it'll be easier to cut if it's clean first. I'll even pay you extra."

Did he think he could buy her forgiveness?

But he did have a point. Taking in the faint cloud of dust forming beside his head as he ruffled his hair, Tara sighed. She rolled her eyes and pointed at the sink with her elbow. "All right, all right. Just hurry up. I need to get home."

Josiah crept in slow steps and glanced over his shoulder. Tempted to push him along, she refrained, deciding the less hands-on contact she had with him the better. Maybe that was what he wanted. To get her riled. Well, it was working.

The sooner she cut his hair and sent him on his way, the sooner she'd have time to think about what his return to town might mean. While tempted to quit the acting group to avoid seeing him, she refused to run away. Besides, playacting the part of a socialite at special events in town was the only fun hobby she allowed herself. She refused to give up her only link to acting.

No, she wouldn't give him the satisfaction of quitting. She'd keep playing the part and enjoy every minute of it. No man would take the fun out of her life ever again. Not even someone as devastatingly handsome and as important to her as Josiah had once been.

5 stars
First Love, the second in the Tombstone Treasures series, is a wonderfully, edgy romance. I liked this one even better than the first one. If the trend continues, the third one should be a blockbuster! Michelle has written an edgy, Christian, romantic story that has a little bit of suspense thrown in.

Tara Hinkson has had a tough time since graduating from high school. Her mother was involved in a horrible car wreck that has left her with the mind of a 5 year old and severely disabled. Tara and her mother share a small house just down the street from the beauty shop where Tara works. Since her mother can not be left along, she has had to hire someone to be able to sit with her mom while she works. Can you imagine having to be the "parent" to your mom or dad? Wanting to be able to sit down and share your thoughts and feelings with them or even just to sit and hold each other and not being able to. That would be a very hard adjustment to make.

Josiah Reardon was Tara's long time boyfriend in high school. Things got very heated in their relationship and they spent most of their time in bed. He broke off the relationship when he was getting ready to go off to college. Tara had not heard from him since then, several years, when he walks into her hair salon for a haircut. To say she was shocked would be an understatement. She didn't really like the way she felt when she saw him. The old flame was still there, at least on her part. How did he feel?

The story takes us on Tara & Josiah's journey of trying to build on the past relationship to make a future. But can that be? Every time they get near each other the old feelings take over. The ones that led to the bedroom. Since high school both of them have become Christians. They both know what they are doing is not right in God's eyes but the flesh is weak and they don't seem to be trying too awfully hard to be strong.

I really loved this book! I loved the characters! Michelle did an awesome job of developing them so that the reader can feel their emotions and know what they are going through. I could picture every place that Josiah and Tara were. I felt so bad for Tara's mom and for Tara having to put her own life on hold all these years to take care of her mother. Michelle has written several good bible truths into her story without being "preachy". Way to go, Michelle! You've done it again!
-- J. Thompson "Janet's Treasures~~book reviews"

Michelle's books just keep getting better and better! While Never Without Hope and In Plain Sight are still my favorites (5+ stars) First Love gives them a good run. I give it a 4.75. I appreciate that Michelle writes about topics we often don't find in Christian Fiction, and I REALLY appreciate that while her characters are Christians, they don't always do the right thing. It's pleasant to read about what's ideal, but it's inspiring and hopeful to read about God's Grace. Without mistakes, there's no opportunity to write about it. Since I don't know anyone who hasn't made a mistake, Michelle's stories should have a very wide appeal.

First Love is an entertaining and honest story about the difficulties of abstaining from premarital sex when there has been a previous relationship. Michelle explores the issue far beyond just the physical aspect. She gives a heavy dose of emotional side-effects, including confusion, heartache and guilt. As a soon-to-be 40 year old, I enjoyed this book very much, but I strongly recommend it for teens and young adults. One should never underestimate the impact of passing on wisdom through words. Thanks, Michelle!
-- Shawna K. Williams - Grace-Inspired Fiction.

Why Michelle Wrote First Love:
The inspiration behind First Love came from a novella project I was working on with three other Barbour authors and I had to draft a first chapter and synopsis for it. Come to find out Barbour didn't think Tombstone would be very romantic so the project went nowhere even with best-selling authors also in on the project. So I just used what I had prepared. I wanted to show how hard it might be to date someone you used to sleep with on a daily basis and who broke your heart when they found God and left. So what happens if you are both Christians in the future and you find out you still have feelings for the other person and decide to give it another try? How do you keep from falling back into bed? How hard would that be? Of course, anyone who knows me knows that my characters usually mess up more than once before they get it together. That's the part I like best. I like writing emotional conflict when it clashes with spiritual values.

Also available at Amazon Kindle, B&N, Kobo, iBookstore, Sony, Books on Board, Allromance Ebooks and coming soon to

Author Bio:
Michelle is the author of over a dozen inspirational novels, a book reviewer, an avid blogger, the mother of two young college students, a wife of over two decades, and follower of Jesus Christ.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Conception, Jennifer Hartz

"I do not think it is a question of where, but when." were the words that Charis left my mother with thirty years ago when I disappeared from Meric…before I was born.

Shortly after being sent back I've been attacked by man-eating Vaipes. I've learned that my father was a power wielding Guardian. I've discovered that the silvery-blue eyes intriguing me my entire life belong to my Watcher, Shaw who is without a doubt the most handsome man I have ever seen. And somehow I need to stop a war mongering tyrant who can manipulate people's thoughts.

So my question isn't where or when. It is how? How can I help the people of Meric when I can't stop myself from falling in love?

Apparently he didn't need my help.

He pounced with alarming speed. The spin move he performed was so quick, so strong, so devastating that when he completed the one-hundred and eighty degree turn that took less than a matter of seconds he had killed seven of the Vaipes.

He faced me now and the fierce, deep concentration in his face astounded me. He attacked Vaipe after Vaipe, and the beasts continued to fall before him. I couldn't believe how swiftly and fluidly Shaw moved. He had pulled out his smaller sword now and assailed the creatures two at a time.

Shaw truly had to be the greatest warrior in all of Meric. None of the Vaipes even came close to him. He just spun, ducked, thrashed, lunged, turned and twisted so effortlessly that it barely appeared he exerted any energy at all.

When the last Vaipe lay dead, he walked toward me, wiping the blood and gore off his face. I stared, amazed by what he just accomplished.

He looked me over, drawing the back of his hand across his cheek. "Are you alright?"

It was a loaded question. Was I physically injured? Was I mentally scarred for life?

I replayed the last few minutes in my head. I witnessed a man being eaten and Shaw slaying more than twenty Vaipes. The stuff of nightmares.

"Yeah, I'm fine." Even though I wanted my statement to sound brave, I couldn't control the shakiness of my voice.

"You should go inside one of the houses," Shaw reiterated.

I was about remind him of my last answer to that suggestion when a Vaipe leapt at us from on top of the fence. I dropped my sword and tried to shove Shaw out of the way, but he was just out of my arms reach. My telekinetic powers kicked in again and I brushed Shaw off to the side with my left hand as easily as sweeping dust from a shelf. With my right hand, I held the Vaipe in midair. It looked at me with such hatred and rage that I couldn't help but scoff ever so slightly. Then I thrust my right arm as hard as I could, throwing the Vaipe into the fence knocking the wind out of it. Grabbing my sword again, I ran to the dazed monster. I hesitated for just one second, wondering if it was right to kill something that was knocked unconscious, when its eyes snapped open and it snarled at me, bracing for attack. The instinct to protect myself outweighed my moral debate, and I slashed it straight through heart.

I turned back to Shaw, breathing hard. He stared at me with raised eyebrows and a slightly open mouth.

I smiled. "How can I go inside a house when clearly you need my help."

Shaw snorted a laugh. "Clearly." He gathered up his bow and nodded for me to follow.

Five Stars!
Christina's ordinary life as a single thirty-year-old school teacher takes a twist when she is unexplainably transported from current day Pittsburgh to a mysterious place called Meric. There, she discovers great wonders; from the beauty of the land, to the secret of her birth and the magical powers she unknowingly possesses. She also learns why a pair of mesmerizing blue eyes has followed her throughout her life.

However, not all is glorious in the land of Meric. A dark evil threatens its people, an evil that thirty years earlier killed Christina's father and drove her into hiding before she was even born. Now that she has returned, Christina must fulfill her destiny or Meric will be doomed under evil's rule.

I can't believe this book was Jennifer Hartz's debut novel. It was pure adventure from start to finish. Jennifer masterfully weaves humor, mystery, action, and romance into a fantastic tale. The pacing is just perfect, dropping hints here and there as deep mysteries are unveiled. At the same time we get to know a host of delightful, well-rounded characters, who I grew to love. The tension builds and builds and I was literally holding my breath at the end.

This book is the first in a series, and I will definitely get the next on the first day it releases. If you enjoy fantasy with Inspirational elements (Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, Kingdom of Arnhem) then you'll love this.
-- Shawna K. williams, Grace-Inspired Fiction.

Why Jennifer Wrote Conception:
While having a conversation with one of my students, I said something that would make my already busy life a heck of lot busier! We were discussing The Twilight Saga. As you know, most teenage girls love Twilight, I really enjoyed the books too, but we were talking about how we were slightly disappointed with the forth book in the series. I eventually said, "I certainly can't judge Stephanie Myers because I haven't written a book let alone a bestselling mega smash series." This got me to thinking. I have always wanted to write a novel – it has been a lifelong dream – why not give it a shot. That day, while driving home from work, I started thinking about all of the books, movies, and TV shows I loved. I pulled out elements from all of these things that really captured my attention and slowly they morphed into my own fantasy realm.

For three months my daydreams continued as I drove back and forth from work. I have an hour and a half commute – three hours a day in the car – so my fantasy story really grew, and grew quickly. The story lines became more and more intricate and the personalities of my characters really started to take on lives of their own. Finally, summer rolled around and my fingers finally met the keys. Writing was the easy part since I had such a structured skeleton to work with. In the two and a half months of summer break I was able to write the entire 78,000 word novel that is now Future Savior Book One: Conception. I have the other four novels of the series completely mapped out in my head.

Also available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Sony, Allromance Ebooks, Books on Board
, iPad iBookstore, and soon,

Author Bio:
Jennifer Hartz wrote and illustrated her first novel, an epic tale featuring winged fairies losing their magic wands to evil trolls, back when she was six years old. She has been a fan of fantasy and science fiction ever since. From the land of Mordor to a galaxy far, far away, Jennifer loves it all.

Born in Pittsburgh, but currently living in northeast North Carolina with her amazing husband and beautiful son, Jennifer spends her days teaching at a small private school in Norfolk, Virgina. Other than reading the Bible, Jennifer loves to read (and now write) Speculative Christian Ficion that has wonderful romantic storylines and exciting twists and turns.

The Future Savior series is Jennifer's first crack at a novel since the early days of fairy wand heists and she couldn't be more thrilled with its quick success.

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Masquerade Marriage, Anne Greene

To protect his loved ones and escape the dark fate of his brothers, a noted warrior abandons his identity. Hiding from relentless soldiers who want him dead, Brody MacCaulay vows to protect the woman he loves more than life, more than freedom, more than Scotland. But his presence throws her into danger.

To escape an arranged marriage to an abusive noble, a Lowland Lady weds a stranger to save his life. But vows spoken do not make a marriage, especially when Megan MacMurry holds a different love inside her heart.

Outlawed, and with a price on his head, Brody condemns himself to a life of heartbreak without Megan. Wanting her desperately, knowing he can't have her, he heads alone to certain death..

Like a determined hero, the fugitive warrior strode through the door at the far end of the tiny stone kirk.

Megan’s eyes widened. Her clenched jaw relaxed. Some of her dread dissolved.

“Impressive.” Molly, Megan’s Irish maid, whispered from where they stood together in the vestibule.

He stopped in front of the hand-carved altar and half-turned toward her. Megan pulled in an uneven breath. This Highlander, wearing formal kilts, was no scrawny lad grown older, nor was he a big, hairy Scot with a bushy beard. The tall, strapping soldier stood with legs braced as if about to do battle.

Her heart skipped. Though she’d known Brody when she wore short skirts, this blond warrior was far more than she expected. Her pulse throbbed in her temples. Doubt niggled her brain. Brody was too tall, too obviously a Highlander. How could she hope to pass him off as a Lowland Laird? He appeared to have too big a chip on his shoulder to let her command him.

Brody’s thick sandy hair swept the collar of his linen shirt. Lace-trimmed cuffs matched the white jabot at his muscular throat. A silver broach clapsed his crimson and black tartan to his wide right shoulder. His Claymore, dirk, and thick sword belt startled her.

Megan suppressed a shudder. The English outlawed kilts. With his dress, Brody spat in the face of the English and further imperiled his life. Why?

His intense sapphire stare blazed a trail across the empty wooden pews toward her. His eyes made her feel dizzy as if she just danced a fast reel with a lively partner.

Molly grinned and handed Megan the bridal flowers.

What had she gotten herself into?

5 Cups
Megan, a lowland lady marries Brody a Highlander on the run from the English to save his life. Filled with rich Scottish language and descriptive passages, this book literally tosses you back in time to a land where men fought to be free from the tyranny of the English. (Honestly feel ashamed to be English having read this.)

I literally sat and read all day, pausing only to feed the kids, so compelling is the story. I laughed and even cried. The emotions run deep as Megan and Brody slowly see past the pretence of their marriage and fall for each other, only for fate to step in.

Definitely one to read, this will have you riveted to your comp/e-reader/book and one you’ll want to read again.
-- Clare, Coffee Times Romance

Why Anne Wrote Marriage Masquerade:
I was motivated to write this book after visiting Scotland. The final battle between the English and the Scottish Highlanders changed the Highlands forever. A way of life ended. The drama in this story appealed to me, and so I wrote Masquerade Marriage. I love this time in history and so enjoyed living it as I wrote the book. I hope the reader finds a new world to love as he reads my book.


Author Bio:
Anne Greene writes historical and suspense novels. She’s of Scotch ancestry of Clan Gunn. When she’s not deployed with her military husband, she makes her home in McKinney, Texas. She has four children. Tim LaHaye led her to the Lord when she was twenty-one, and Chuck Swindoll is her Pastor. In 1989 Anne graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Literary Studies from the University of Texas Dallas. Anne loves to travel and has visited twenty-four countries. See her web site for pictures. At present Anne is in Seoul, South Korea, serving her country with her hero husband, Larry, an active-duty Colonel in the Army Special Forces. Her highest hope is that her stories transport you to a different world and touch your heart.

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