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Then There Was You by Kara Isaac

When Rebecca Maney told me I HAD to read Kara Isaac’s newest release, Then There Was You, two things happened:

  1. I knew I needed to listen because I ALWAYS listen to Rebecca Maney 😉
  2. Kara has been on my TBR list for a whole year because I’d heard her writing style was similar to mine (which I take as a BIG compliment), so I looked forward to finding out if that was true.

So, on a recent flight from Texas, I pulled out my purchased copy of Then There Was You and spent the entire flight time reading…and finishing…this fun, poignant, and sweet romance.

A little about the book:

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Paige McAllister needs to do something drastic. Her boyfriend can’t even commit to living in the same country, her promised promotion is dead on arrival and the simultaneous loss of her brother and her dream of being a concert violinist has kept her playing life safe and predictable for six years.

Things need to change.

A moment of temporary insanity finds her leaving her life in Chicago to move to Sydney, Australia. There she finds herself, against many of her convictions, as a logistics planner for one of Australia’s biggest churches, and on a collision course with her boss’s son. Josh Tyler fronts a top-selling worship band and is in demand all over the world. But, in the past, his failed romantic relationships almost destroyed both his reputation and his family. He’s determined to never risk it happening again. The last thing he needs is some American girl tipping his ordered life upside down. Especially one who despises everything he’s ever worked for and manages to push every button he has.

When Josh and Paige are thrown together to organize his band’s next tour, the sparks fly. But can they find a way to bridge the differences that pull them apart? Or will they choose the safety and security of what they know over taking a chance on something that will require them to risk everything?

My take:

I love to travel, but with a big family and two middle-class salaries, travel isn’t always an option. Thankfully, Kara provides a wonderful journey to a place I’d LOVE to see some day. Australia. (Which we will be visiting on Thursday on our Book Journeys.)

I’ve seen the movie, Australia, but the place? Not yet. There are loads of people I’d love to visit over there. 😊

But – back to the book!

Kara Isaac writes my kind of story!!!

Then there was you.pngHer characters are such fun. They remind me of the novels I love to write, so, of course, I love to READ them!! Paige is completely adorkable – in her clumsy, bumbling, victory-dancing sort of way, she stumbles right into musician, Josh Tyler’s life. Their personalities are opposite in some ways, but perfectly fitted where it matters most. Kara keeps the faith theme organic, but a strong thread in the midst of two people trying to understanding how to move forward when deep, life-altering wounds redirect their futures.

Kara does a beautiful thing we don’t always see in contemporary fiction. She tricks us! By setting this book in a light-hearted tone, she sneaks in some deep-set spiritual truths in a beautifully, digestible way (kind of like trying to feed kids something they don’t’ like by sneaking it into something they do 😉)

 

And we learn. And grieve. And celebrate along with the characters.

Then There Was You 3.pngFilled with heart, humor, hope, and swoony romance, we join in an adventure of love, loss, and second chances. Josh and Paige are two people who’ve been impacted by some deep traumas, both inside the church and out. By placing them together on the page, Kara forces both of them to confront their own hearts and the desires they each hope to find in the other.

Plus…it all takes place in AUSTRALIA! (Wait, did I say that already?)

And both Josh and Paige are muscicians!!!

My music-loving, travel-happy, romance-saturated heart is SOOOOO happy.

If you’re looking for a funny, sweet story with a perfectly-fitted ending (oh my goodness! too much FUN!), then this book is for you!

Amazon| Goodreads

About the Author

Kara Isaac is an award-winning writer who lives in Wellington, New Zealand, where her career highlights include working in tourism as Private Secretary for the Prime Minister. She loves great books almost as much as she loves her husband and two Hobbit-sized children.

More Books by Kara Isaac 

    

ACFW 2017 – Peeps on the Journey

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I look forward to the ACFW conference every year.

beckycarolWhat in the world does ACFW stand for? Well, it’s the American Christian Fiction Writers – an organization for Christian fiction writers – and they converge once a year so that like-minded, fiction loving authors can join forces with editors, agents, and marketing people to form a magnificent force of great minds.

And maybe a few scary minds.

We DO talk to people no one else can see 😉

This year, the conference was held in Grapevine, TX in the Dallas/Fortworth area at the MASSIVE Gaylord Resort. Me in awe:

Yes, this place was huge.

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A little village inside one building. It had an expansive atrium, complete with live plants, a little pond, and a cool miniature railroad track, but everything was enclosed…like one of those sci fi books where a colony is placed on Mars 😊

Except a LOT nicer. And less likelihood of death by dropping oxygen levels.

What happens when a lot of writers get together?

21766407_10213940304322689_4106097733915362874_nWell, funny stories emerge. Silly photos. Encouragement. Brainstorming (I got to brainstorm with New York Times Bestselling author Rachel Hauk and that was so. Much. Fun!

There are opportunities to actually HUG people you’ve only met online – like Savanna Kaiser, Erica Hogan, Rebekah Millet, the gracious Cathy Goeke, and Sarah Ruut – AS WELL as, catching up with amazing authors like Becky Wade, Mary Connealy,  Lisa Jordan, Cathy West, Carol Moncado, Janice Thompson, Cynthia Ruchti,  Deb Rainey, and so many more.

I attended excellent classes from Jim Rubart, Cara Putman, the team at Harper Collins 21768451_10214336852475877_8714949246374914216_nand more!

Gleaned encouragement and guidance from beautiful people like Colleen Coble, Pam Hillman, Shaina Turner, Janice Thompson, Brandilyn Collins and MORE.

Had a fab meeting with my agent, Julie Gwinn.

Worshipped on the praise team with an awesome band (thanks so much Javi, Tom, Jason, Jeremy, and Eddie) with the remarkable addition of fellow author, Amanda Wen, on the cello, and led 22008349_10214336872436376_7502329595824910784_nby encourager-extraordinaire, Rachel Hauck.

Um…I got to see DENISE HUNTER AGAIN!! (fan girl moment. She’s so sweet! AND so is her hubby)

Then, of course, there was my time with my ALLEYCATS!  There’s a precious, sweet bond between us and getting to hug them and chat with them IN PERSON is such a refreshment. Cara Putman, Angie Dicken, Casey Herringshaw, Sherrinda Ketchersid, Mary Vee, Ashley Clark, and Laurie Tomlinson – I am SO thankful for you all!! (Ash, Ang, and Case – I LOVED getting to have my last meal/snack at conference with you all…just sharing and loving each 22141195_10214336921437601_2188058956282146488_nother). And Cara and Angie – sooooo thankful for time to encourage one another.

(meet some of them here 🙂

So, what did I GET from ACFW? Besides the obvious fun time and wealth of information?

Renewed and NEW connections with a group of people who all want to glorify God through story.

Massive amounts of encouragement.

22008337_10214336912797385_6135043439045117348_nA solid dose of challenges – let’s face it, this writing gig and the published world isn’t always an easy place.

A heap of love.

And…I even happened to sneak off with a copy of Joanna Politano’s DEBUT novel, Lady Jayne Disappears. (Yes, be jealous)

If you’re a writer, attending a conference is a wonderful way to realize YOU ARE NOT alone – especially when you’re the only person in your family who still talks to imaginary friends 😊

And a Christian writer’s conference? Well, the game changes, because we’re not competing Against each other for something because all of our goals are the same. Using the God-given gift  we have to share the gospel (whether overtly or covertly).

22089935_10214336915037441_6920393314400122921_nIt changes the playing field and makes the journey more like a race uphill with a lot of friends than a tug-of-war with enemies.

God LOVES story!

And we all have one to tell.

Having people on the journey with you, is a must!

And if you want to join some more of the fun of ACFW – check out the fun giveaway I have going on in celebration of my upcoming release Charming the Troublemaker!!! Visit FB or Instagram to join the fun!!

Join the fun HERE on Facebook

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Swoony Saturdays – Charlie Lionheart

Welcome! Welcome!

Swoony Saturdays are your opportunity to be introduced to a book hero who fits high quality hero characteristics. (okay, so he just makes us weak in the knees for all kinds of reasons, but you get the point)

The photos involved are chosen as the most representative of the heroes featured, so IF they look like someone you’ve seen before, that’s almost entirely accidental.

Charlie Lionheart

In May, my lovely assistant, Rachel Dixon, posted a Swoony Saturday about Charlie Lionheart, because she LOVED him and because…well…I hadn’t read Joanne Bischof’s book, The Lady and the Lionheart, yet.

Now, with the story fresh in my mind since I finished the book last weekend (much to Rachel Dixon and Carrie Schmidt’s ‘finally’ stares), I’m going to SWOON over Charlie afresh with you guys today 😊

Joanne’s novel has garnered RAVE reviews, awards, and excited fandom-status, including a line of women who often use the hashtag – #mycharlie (you know who you are).  Rt Reviews even named it “Inspirational Romance of 2016”.

From here on out, my comments will be in italics 😉

So….Let’s talk about this tamer of lions and soother of hearts.

Charlie Lionheart: Who? Charlie Lionheart

Where can we find this dreamboat? The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof

Personality summary:

Raised amid the fame and mystique of the Big Top, Charlie Lionheart holds the audience in the palm of his hand. But while his act captivates thousands, it’s away from the spotlight where his true heart lies. Here he humbly cares for his pride of lions as if they were his brothers, a skill of bravery and strength that has prepared him for his most challenging feat yet—freeing an orphaned infant from the dark bondage of a sideshow. A trade so costly, it requires his life in exchange for hers, leaving him tarnished by the price of that choice. (From the back of the book.)

Charlie is a protector – as fierce as his brotherhood of lions. Yet, amidst the world of the demands, unpredictability, and sometimes horrors of circus life, he breathes a gentleness and uncertainty which is endearing. A bit quirky (in the most adorable of ways), first necessity and then curiosity draw him toward the heroine in a timid dance of two worlds drawing back the curtains on each other. As his protectiveness merges with a sweet love for Ella, a most exquisite and tender romance blooms to outshine any show on the Big Top

LATL 4 : What makes us swoon?

He TAMES LIONS (of course, this would be considered swoony. Seriously??? How many heroes do you know who tame lions??)

He’s a tender daddy
His sacrificial love/Self sacrifice

Strength (works with lions!)I’d add here – his reigned in strength. It’s one thing to be strong (which is swoony, but it’s even more beautiful to curb the power into fierce tenderness and loyalty. That adds a depth that is breathtaking.

Compassion
His bravery (Not just regarding the lions)
His love for those he cares about is not just something to admire, but to learn from.

Another aspect of Charlie that is wonderful is his ability to look beyond external and take a person at face value.

I love his innocence.

And he’s quirky!! Bring on the ADORKABLE!!!

Kissing level of such swooniness: Charlie is definitely a 5 on this scale. I was left in an incoherent puddle for DAYS after reading this book. Make sure you read close to the kitchen, you WILL need your freezer!

THIS IS A KISSING BOOK, if nothing else for ONE kiss alone. Great googley moogley!

The Lady and the LionheartBasic hero type: Charlie is a Darcy. His brooding disposition and assumptions made about the heroine make him out to be harsh and cold. But he is a softy underneath.

Agreed, an unlearned observer might see him as fierce (much like the lions he tames), but closer observation reveals a loyalty, strength of character, and gentleness to remove any doubt of the dedication and swooniness of his character.

How can I meet this swoony mister? 

The Lady and the Lionheart can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Christian Book Distributors.Christian Book Distributors. Don’t forget to add it on Goodreads!

You can find my review HERE.

About the Author

A Carol Award and two-time Christy Award-finalist, Joanne Bischof writes deeply layered fiction that tugs at the reader’s heartstrings. She was honored to receive the SDCWG Novel of the Year Award in 2014 and in 2015 was named Author of the Year by the Mount Hermon Writer’s conference. Her 2014 novella This Quiet Sky broke precedent as the first self-released title to final for the Christy Awards. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her husband and their three children. Website

Kissing Levels & Hero Types

 

Book Journeys – Roanoke

d87db-the2blady2band2bthe2blionheartI loved getting to return to my home state in Joanne Bischof’s beautiful novel, The Lady and The Lionheart. In Bischof’s excellent story of romance and redemption, the characters remain in the small city of Roanoke, Virginia for most of the book.

Roanoke is a beautiful little city located in the Roanoke Valley in the southwestern part of the state. In fact, a lot of people I’ve met from the northern part of Virginia think that Virginia ends at Roanoke 😉 (but thankfully Virginia Tech has put us a little more southerly on the map)

First named Big Lick (seriously) in 1852 for a large outcropping of salt marshes near the Roanoke River, the name was changed to Roanoke in 1882 (whew…)

The name Roanoke comes from the Algonquian word for ‘shell’ which was used as currency – and the native Americans called the large river nearby, Roanoke, so the town took on the name.

Smith Mountain Lake, VA (prints available here: http://www.smith-mountain-lake-visitor-center.com/prints/prints_smith_mountain_lake_01.htm)
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As railroads became more common, Roanoke became an important hub for people to get from the more metropolitan northeast to the growing west.

Roanoke is a valley framed in by mountains. It’s actually a beautiful place to behold from the Blue Ridge Parkway that gives spectacular vistas of the city. The Appalachian Trail runs through the northern part of Roanoke and the beautiful Smith Mountain Lake is to the southeast (My dad LOVES Smith Mountain Lake!! Great catfish up there).

Visit one of these unbelievably odd yet fun museums to get a different take on Virginia’s history.
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Although small, because of its unique location it’s become an eclectic arts and sciences community. Center in the Square brings this theory to view with a seven-story cultural center in the middle of downtown. The city also has some wonderful museums for history, science, music, and many other things. Oh, and for those with more ‘unique’ interests, there is even the Roanoke Pinball Museum.

For nature lovers, there is opportunity to go below or above. Dixie and Luray Caverns take you on a below-ground tour, but then you can drive to new heights on the lovely Blue Ridge Parkway.

Roanoke Mountain, off the Blue Ridge Parkway...I dream about talking long walks down roads like this...talking to Jesus as I walk! facebook.com/loveswish
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One of my favorite places to visit near Roanoke is Explore Park. There’s SOOOOO much to do there, but I love the historical aspect of the Park. In fact, I have an entire scene devoted to Explore Park in a future book 😊  http://explorepark.org/375/Historical-Area

There are too many things to list to do in this beautiful part of the world, but Clifton Forge (also mentioned in The Lady and the Lionheart) isn’t too far away either. It’s part of the Alleghany Highlands and would have been a much more rural town when Charlie and Ella visited.

So there you have it. A little bit about Roanoke, Va. Subtract about a century, add a circus, and you could step into the world of the amazing novel, The Lady and the Lionheart.

Have you ever been to Roanoke? Would you like to go?

Read my review for The Lady and the Lionheart HERE.

Find The Lady and the Lionheart on….
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books-A-Million
Christian Book
Google Books

About the Author

A Carol Award and two-time Christy Award-finalist, Joanne Bischof writes deeply layered fiction that tugs at the reader’s heartstrings. She was honored to receive the SDCWG Novel of the Year Award in 2014 and in 2015 was named Author of the Year by the Mount Hermon Writer’s conference. Her 2014 novella This Quiet Sky broke precedent as the first self-released title to final for the Christy Awards. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her husband and their three children.

 

Pepper

The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof

About the Book

Two worlds collide when the circus comes to Victorian-era Virginia.

 

Raised amid the fame and mystique of the Big Top, Charlie Lionheart holds the audience in the palm of his hand. But while his act captivates thousands, it’s away from the spotlight where his true heart lies. Here he humbly cares for his pride of lions as if they were his brothers, a skill of bravery and strength that has prepared him for his most challenging feat yet—freeing an orphaned infant from the dark bondage of a sideshow. A trade so costly, it requires his life in exchange for hers, leaving him tarnished by the price of that choice.

As the circus tents are raised on the outskirts of Roanoke, country nurse Ella Beckley arrives to tend to this ill Gypsy girl. All under the watchful eye of a guardian who not only bears a striking resemblance to the child, but who protects the baby with a love that wraps around Ella’s own tragic past, awakening a hope that goodness may yet reign. When their forbidden friendship deepens, Charlie dares to ask for her heart, bringing her behind the curtain of his secret world to reveal the sacrifice that gave hope to one little girl—boldly showing Ella that while her tattered faith is deeply scarred, the only marks that need be permanent are his own.

My Thoughts

LATL 4So…I’d heard nothing but praise, praise and more praise for Joanne Bischof’s novel, The Lady and the Lionheart, which meant I HAD to read it, of course. Well, the hype is certainly well-founded and I’ll tell you why I thought so in just a minute.

First, about the book:

From the first paragraph, this story drew me in with its eloquent writing. Vivid detail, word pictures, and beautiful phrasing enticed me further…and then I met Charlie. I love quirky, and Joanne performed the task of creating a lovable and realistic character raised in a very different world. But…more about Charlie in a little bit.

Spiritual truths in fiction can be a tricky balance beam to tread for an author, but Joanne does it beautifully in both of the main characters’ lives. Both are scarred. One by a ruthless act of a selfish man and the other by a forced choice to save the lives of another. These ‘scars’ seamlessly display a beautiful reminder that even in our brokenness we are remarkably beloved.

Aviary Photo_131303863941749795.pngBetween Joanne’s descriptive writing style, the intricate historical detail of a lesser known ‘world’, and the curious and uncertain introduction to romance between Charlie and Ella, this book called for just ONE. MORE. PAGE. There’s something indefinably sweet about it. Maybe it’s because we all want to know we’re loved despite our internal or external scars. Maybe’s it’s because we see two kind and tenderhearted people trying to navigate the unexpected and hurtful wounds of the world to uncover true love. Or Maybe it’s because Charlie Lionheart.

Now I understand why Carrie Schmidt has a book crush on Charlie. He is 1/3 brooding, 1/3 adorkable, and 1/3 exquisitely tender, which makes him 100% top book crush material.

In short, this story was a magical journey of two broken people learning how God mends our shattered lives in sometimes the most unexpected of ways…and about how we are loved far beyond our brokenness.

A beautiful and endearing romance from a beautiful and talented writer.

Find The Lady and the Lionheart on….
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books-A-Million
Christian Book
Google Books

About the Author

A Carol Award and two-time Christy Award-finalist, Joanne Bischof writes deeply layered fiction that tugs at the reader’s heartstrings. She was honored to receive the SDCWG Novel of the Year Award in 2014 and in 2015 was named Author of the Year by the Mount Hermon Writer’s conference. Her 2014 novella This Quiet Sky broke precedent as the first self-released title to final for the Christy Awards. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her husband and their three children.

 

Pepper

Cover Reveal – Charming the Troublemaker

Okay, so…this sequel to A Twist of Faith has been a LOOOOONGGG time coming, but I absolutely love the story.

A little history – I started this novel as a LOOSE retelling of Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel North & South , but the characters took this story in a little different direction, though I think you might see some similar themes, but you ‘have to look hard’ (Die-hard N&S fans will get that reference).

For one, Alex Murdock took over…and I fell in love with him. He was SO. MUCH. FUN to write!! He’s not your typical hero, a flirt who’s down on his luck, but he was just waayyyy too adorkable to leave untapped. Thus, the creation of the hashtag #AdorkableAlex.

I hope to share a few sneak peeks next week, but for not let me tell you a little about Charming the Troublemaker before the great unveiling (and I see you! Don’t skim to the bottom first. You need to enjoy the journey)

About the Book

Book 2 in Mitchell’s Crossroads Series
Releases November 1, 2017

When Dr. Alex Murdock is demoted to a university in rural Virginia, the last thing he expects to find is a future. But country charm never looked as good as it does on Rainey Mitchell.

Rainey Mitchell does not need a high-class flirt in her wounded world, but trouble and temptation wafts off the new professor as strong as his sandalwood-scented cologne.

When circumstances thrust them together to save her tutoring clinic, can the troublemaker find the hero inside and encourage the reticent Rainey to open her heart again?

Drum roll please….

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And a peek at the back cover….

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Can’t Wait Till November?

If you haven’t read book 1 in the series yet, now is the perfect time to catch up! Find A Twist of Faith via the links below. 

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Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Goodreads

You can find my other published books HERE.

 

Songspiration – Charming the Troublemaker Part 1

Songspiration 

Now, you may be wondering what that word means. Well, Songspiration means songs that have inspired characters, story lines, and other aspects related to writing a book.

Today I am sharing the Songspiration for the hero in my upcoming release, Charming the Troublemaker. Alex Murdock is a swoony hero – a flirt…and #adorkable but he’s also quite the troublemaker…And maybe that has a little bit to do with being a flirt. 😉 I can’t wait for you to meet him. Get a peek inside his character in the video below.

Add Charming the Troublemaker to your Goodreads shelf now!  (Releases November 1, 2017)

Swoony Saturdays – William Preston

Welcome! Welcome!

Swoony Saturdays are your opportunity to be introduced to a book hero who fits high quality hero characteristics. (okay, so he just makes us weak in the knees for all kinds of reasons, but you get the point)

The photos involved are chosen as the most representative of the heroes featured, so IF they look like someone you’ve seen before, that’s almost entirely accidental.

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/505247651932539433/

Who? Will Preston

Where can we find this dreamboat?  The Engagement Plot by Krista Phillips (releasing Nov 2017)

Personality summary: Will is a good guy who’s made some pretty impulsive mistakes that’s turned his world upside down. He’s trusting and kind, but struggles with trying to live up to the expectations of others instead of always choosing what’s best. Though his heart is mostly in the right place, he’s driven to find identity in his career, which sometimes places him in the wrong place at the wrong time. He used to be a dedicated Christian, but a painful wound has left him struggling with his faith and God’s Sovereignty. Thankfully, God never loses hold of His own and He’s placed Will right in the perfect spot to eat a little humble pie, rediscover some perspective, and…maybe even find the love of his life.

What makes us swoon?

I’m a sucker for broken heroes – guys who really need to be rescued. Will is definitely one of those.

His intentions are usually in the right place, even if his follow-through isn’t the best.

He loves his parents. A lot. Family is a heartbeat for him. (which also comes out when he’s hanging out with the heroine’s father. SWEET)

He apologizes to coffee! (you’ll have to read the book to get this one. LOVED LOVED this scene) (Preorder link is below 😉

He looks fabulous in a suit or flannel. Clean-shaven or five-o’clock shadow

Beth Erin says “He rescues damsels from kitchen mayhem”

She also says, “He bakes a mean humble pie and eats it too.”

He has a tender heart and desires to protect the heroine from further hurt at all cost.

Did I mention he looks like Tom Cruise???

Kissing level of such swooniness: Will is a 4 level kisser. Passionate yet also moments of intense tenderness.

What does the author, Krista Phillips, say about her creation?

While it might be dumb and not swoony to others, I love how Will eggs Hanna on, and his ability to carry on banter. I love that he bought Hanna the ring she wanted, no questions asked. I love that he has real regrets and remorse for his actions. I love that even though he is far from God at the beginning, he still saw something precious in Hanna that attracted him to her.

About the Book

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Six months ago, William stole Hanna’s heart and shattered it in front of millions of people on a reality TV dating show. And now the big-wig CEO is back on Hanna’s home turf in Minnesota and wants her to forgive him? Fat chance of that. But life is swirling around faster than snow in a blizzard, and despite her objections, teaming up with William seems like the only option to rescue her reputation.

William has never regretted anything more than the day he gave that ill-fated interview for the reality show, The Price of Love. But while he can’t change the past, he’s determined to fix the future. He just needs to convince Hanna to forgive him—and pretend to be engaged with him. Simple, right?

When the media erupts with even worse accusations, teaming up and pretending to be engaged seems to be the only way to salvage their reputations. Despite the media frenzy that swirls around them, an attraction neither of them can fight off begins to surface. Could this love run deeper than a scandal, or will old wounds tear them apart once and for all?

Pre-Order Now!
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
CBD.com

About the Author

Krista PhilipsKrista Phillips writes inspirational romantic comedy. She believes a sprinkle of laughter (and a wee bit of chocolate) makes everything a little better! She blogs regularly about life as a wife, mother, follower of Jesus, and mother of a child with a rare congenital heart defect at www.kristaphillips.com.

Book Journeys – Reality TV Style   

I just finished fellow Alleycat and dear friend, Krista Phillips’s upcoming novel The Engagement Plot and people…

It was SO MUCH FUN!!!

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I’ll let you read the blurb HERE – but today on Book Journeys we’re going to travel to various places that the characters visit in the book.

If you do not know, it’s a story about two reality TV stars whose onscreen relationship took a pretty nasty turn and now they’re both trying to pick up the pieces of their very public explosion.  I don’t want to give too much of it away, but you need to know three things:

  1. Krista might deny it, but she writes some super duper kisses
  2. The coffee scene. I mean, seriously. You’ll know it when you get there. LOVED IT!
  3. Will has toes of steel.

Our first stop on this book journey is Embarrass, Minnesota

Embarrass, Minnesota - 15 Most Unfortunate Town Names (funny town names, funny city names, weird town names, strange town names, bizarre town names) - ODDEE
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Embarrass, known lovingly as The Cold Spot, got it’s name from the river’s notorious ability to confound/confuse explorers/travelers who were trying to navigate their way through its waters. Early explorers were French, and since the French word for confound/confuse/complicate is similar to ‘embarrass’, the name stuck.

Finnish Dovetail House circa 1900 Embarrass, Minnesota
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A small mining town, Embarrass is known for its Finnish-American Homestead Tours, Ice Candle festivities, small town aura, and…ice fishing (which you read about in the book 😊) Our heroine, Hanna, grew up and lives here.

Which is VERY different than the two homes of hero William Preston.

Downtown Nashville TN [OC] [5660x3773]
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William works as a high-class CEO in Nashville. Now we’ve looked a little at old Nashville last time with Tamara Alexander’s book, but today we’re going to see a few pics of downtown Nashville. “Music City U.S.A” is the largest city in Tennessee and features various ‘parts’ of the city for various tastes 😊

Music Row in Nashville, Tennessee (aka Music City) I can't wait till October and I get to see and experience this!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm so exited.
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The Central business district, where our hero Will works, is on the northern side of the city and features Tennessee Bicentennial Mall. The cityscape really is pretty (as far as cities go 😉)

The Parthenon Centennial Park, West End Avenue, Nashville, Tennessee 37203 USA 615-862-8431
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Because of its musical history, Nashville is home to some of the top recording studios in the nation. It also boasts from great history, from Belle Meade Mansion to the Parthenon, there’s PLENTY to see and experience. And DO NOT forget Music Row!!! (such a colorful place)

21074264_10214025730218015_1511006592_n.jpgKrista’s characters also spend time in the NY/NJ area where Will’s parents live. I LOVED meeting them and I’m sure Krista has a much better picture of their house in mind. But isn’t it just BEAUTIFUL!!!

As November draws closer, I’ll have my review for The Engagement Plot featured, but for now, I just want to introduce you to Krista’s story world AND…of course, introduce her swoony hero on Saturday.

Krista Philips.jpgTo learn more about Krista, check out her new website at www.kristaphillips.com

And learn more about The Engagement Plot HERE (or pre-order…because you’ll want to read it 😉)

Pepper

Worry, Autism, and God’s Big Plan

Some of you may know that by day I am a speech-language pathologist with a specialty in Autism, but to be perfectly honest, most days the kids I serve teach me much more than I think I teach them. Their perspectives, strengths, and needs bring a fresh look into a world that can become to automated, predictable, and loud.

anxiety-2019928_1920.jpgI’m also a woman who struggles with worry. Sure, it’s not a sin to have healthy concern, but ‘worry’ is that almost-obsessive fear or distractible nervousness that alters your thinking and behavior. Another word for worry might be anxiety.

The Bible has some great things to say about worry/anxiety and casting our cares on Christ, but really, how can we do that? Life has big problems! Kids get sick, money gets tight, safety isn’t promised, health isn’t secure. Isn’t there plenty to really worry about?

Beginning.pngMy kids with Autism have an expectation when they come to see me for therapy. They know that when they walk in the door of my therapy room they’ll see a dry-erase board with the schedule for their session. The beginning, middle, and end. The whole session is set up in a nice checklist of expectations because…not knowing what’s going to happen next is really scary for these kids. Schedules, plans, and expectations help keep their hearts/minds calm so they can learn. There are so many things they ‘can’t’ control, like the people and sounds around them, so knowing what to expect is important for their peace of mind and heart.

We’re the same way, you know?

God will give you strength... and best friends to remind you of it. And lend their strength too. Saranghae my dongsaengIt’s interesting how this very understanding should impact a Christian’s heart when he/she is tempted to worry. We all like control in some form or other. Managing a schedule or employees or kids or health. Sorting through where finances are going. Feeling like we have our futures planned out and our emotions amiably adjusted.

When unexpected things happen, it can send us into a ‘meltdown’ of uncertainty and fear.

Here’s the good news in the middle of the spin-cycle.

As Christians, we serve a God who is Alpha and Omega – beginning and end. The Creator of all time, space, and schedules. The Ultimate planner. The Keeper of our hearts, minds, and futures.

And though the Bible isn’t crystal clear on exactly what’s going to happen on which day, it IS clear on the beginning, middle, and end…well, there’s really not going to be a definitive end since we really DO get to live that happily-ever-after, but you get my point 😉

God has written this page into the story of our livesThe point is…

Life can get messy, scary, hard, and dark.

Plans may fall apart.

Expectations crumble.

And yet…God has written this page into the story of our lives knowing exactly what happens in the next sentence, on the next page, and in the next chapter.

The schedule is there and the Author lets us know He’s with us all the way.