Dawn Crandall and The Captive Imposter

In honor of the release of Timeless Love this week, I thought I would reshare this review of Dawn Crandall’s book, The Captive Imposter. You can find her new novella, Enchanting Nicholette as a part of the Timeless Love collection. Which is only available for TWO WEEKS! So go order your copy NOW for just $0.99!!!

Timeless Square

Original review posted 4/23/2015

I am thrilled to help celebrate the release of Dawn Crandall’s newest novel, The Captive Imposter.

 Credit: Suzanne Waltner

Besides the book being set in a deletable time period (gilded age), Dawn’s writing is fast-paced, descriptive, and incredibly emotive. This book, in particular, has all the wonderful makings of a

fantastic romance. A deeply wounded young woman, Estella Everstone may have grown up as an heiress, but now at the request of her family, she’s living the charade of a companion to an older woman. Despite her prosperous life, she has a somewhat innocent heart and despises the lie she must live. But an unexpected change of plans places her directly in the path of a remarkable and unexpected man – Dexter Blakely. Theirs is a tenuous and intriguing start which grows into a sweet and beautiful friendship – the type for which Estella has never known. But 

Dexter’s life is to take good care of and oversee the running of Everston, Estella’s family’s opulent mountain hotel, so what will happen when Dexter finds out who Estella truly is? And with her former fiance reminding her of the wounds in her past, Estella may be in more trouble than she imagined.

Sigh….definitely worth the journey to find out! Sweet, funny, and emotional depth all wrapped up in a well-written story of hope, faith, and trusting God who holds all the riches in his hands and creates people for his glory (regardless of class). And…might I add, Dawn includes the beautiful Appalachian mountains in this story? Makes me even happier because I LOVE Appalachia, whether in lovely Maine or nearer my neck of the woods!!

About the Book

Photo - CoverSent away for protection, hotel heiress Estella Everstone finds herself living undercover as a lady’s companion named Elle Stoneburner at one of her father’s opulent hotels in the mountains of Maine—the one she’d always loved best and always hoped to own one day, Everston. The one thing she doesn’t like about the situation is that her ex-fiancé is in the area and is set on marrying someone else. Reeling from her feelings of being unwanted and unworthy, Estella reluctantly forms a friendship with the gruff manager of Everston, Dexter Blakeley, who seems to have something against wealthy young socialites with too much money, although they are just the kind of people Everston caters to.

When Estella finds herself in need of help, Dexter comes to the rescue with an offer she can’t refuse. She sees no other choice aside from going back home to her family and accepts the position as companion to his sister. Throughout her interactions with Dexter, she can’t deny the pull that’s evidenced between them every time he comes near. Estella realizes that while she’s been hiding behind a false name and identity, she’s never been freer to be herself than when she’s with Dexter Blakeley. But will he still love her when he finds out she’s Estella Everstone? She’s not entirely sure.

The Everstone Chronicles
The Hesitant Heiress.jpg  The Bound Heart.jpg  The Captive Imposter.jpg  The Cautious Maiden.jpgEnchanting Nicolette


About the Author

Photo - Dawn CrandallA graduate of Taylor University with a degree in Christian Education, and a former bookseller at Barnes & Noble, Dawn Crandall didn’t begin writing until her husband found out about her long-buried dream of writing a book. Without a doubt about someday becoming traditionally published, he encouraged her to quit her job in 2010 in order to focus on writing The Hesitant Heiress. It didn’t take her long to realize that writing books was what she was made to do. The Everstone Chronicles is Dawn’s first series with Whitaker House. All three books in the series were semifinalists in ACFW’s prestigious Genesis Writing Contest, the third book going on to become a finalist in 2013.

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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….
Barnes & Noble
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.



Isle of Hope Blog Tour – Julie Lessman

isleofhopebanner1Yesterday was National Author Day, and I’m honored to get to celebrate an author’s release this week who has been such an encouragement to me. For over five years, I’ve been blessed with Julie Lessman’s stories and her friendship, and now I’m excited to celebrate her newest (and first contemporary) novel, Isle of Hope.

isleofhopeJulie never fails to include three key components into her novels.

  1. Romantic Tension
  2. A compelling story
  3. Faith

(Plus lots of kisses, but I figured that goes along with the ‘romantic tension’ thing) J

And don’t forget Julie loves to throw in that secondary romance of her older characters – which, to me, was an even more compelling and authentic romance in Isle of Hope than the younger characters’ romance, and making her themes of ‘forgiveness’ and ‘hope’ even more beautiful.

This story, at its naked core, is about forgiveness. A cast of broken people come together on the pages to find the ultimate healing through forgiveness, in its various forms. Lacey embodies the story’s heart as a woman whose past is littered with mistakes that have injured all the people she loves, especially the man she was supposed to marry eight years before. Her purpose in returning home after all those years of simmering bitterness is to seek forgiveness. Isle of Hope is an appropriate place for her to embark on this journey of reconciliation, healing, and, of course, hope. That’s what almost every character in the story is looking for. From the ‘hope’ of a second romance even as one grows older, to the hope of forgiveness for breaking a fiancé’s heart, to the craving of healing between a father and a daughter, Julie Lessman’s novel provides the answer of ‘hope’ in each character in her novel.

isleofhopejulieNow, if you are an avid reader of Julie’s books, you’ll discover a few differences about this one. The faith thread is much more overt in Isle of Hope than in any of her other novels, which provides opportunity for her to share a deeper understanding of the reconciliation and healing of the Gospel.

Another slight difference is the pacing of this book. Because of the storyline taking a longer focus on faith, the pacing may not feel as fast as in her previous books, which may suit wounded readers well as Lessman continually reminds them in each fictional relationship of God’s outpouring of grace as a balm to cure to most broken souls.

And though the kisses seemed more tender than spicy, (and there were still some spicy ones) the overall focus of the book was more about piecing together lives with hope and forgiveness than being swept away in a lover’s embrace (unless the ‘lover’ was the Lover of our souls).

This novel was a beautiful story and one that will remind you of how much you are loved by a Mender of broken things. Definitely a worthwhile read from Julie Lessman.

What people are saying:

“Emotionally captivating and spiritually challenging” — Denise Hunter.

“Lush details, dynamic characters, and a storyline that keeps you turning the pages” — Beth Vogt

“A delight!” — Becky Wade

Somebody Like You by Beth K. Vogt

HB SomebodyLikeYou_4.inddWhat would you do if your deceased husband’s twin (a twin you didn’t know existed) showed up on your doorstep? Well, if your Haley Ames you pull a gun and ask questions later.

In Beth K Vogt’s newest novel, Somebody Like You, Haley is faced with her deceased husband’s mirror-image who has come into Haley’s life to make amends for the way he and his brother parted ways. Add into the mix the fact that Stephen is her husband’s identical twin, a gentle, charming, and compassionate guy, plus Haley is about to give birth, and you have a story worth a double take.

Seriously, I think chapter 15 was one of my favorite chapters in the book. Send a poor man home to gather supplies for a woman in labor? Hilarious! Poor Stephen Ames. (And Beth, you couldn’t have picked a better model of super hero. BRING ON the Captain!!)

And chapter 16 was hilarious too. Oh my goodness. Again…poor, poor Stephen Ames.

I think this might be one of Beth’s best yet, partly because she includes some pretty amazing kisses and partly because of the healing process which leads to a much better second chance than the first ever was. The wounded-but-tough heroine, Haley, plays her part well, but Stephen steals the show. If you want to figure out if Haley finally ‘sees clearly’ or not, check out Beth’s beautiful new novel, Somebody Like You.

The Dream Dress by Janice Thompson

thedreamdressJanice Thompson stitches a seamless romance in her newest release, The Dream Dress, her third book in the Weddings by Design series. Poor Gabi Delgado resigns her life to follow int he glass-less footsteps of poor Cinderella. As an ‘alterations girl’ for an erratic yet famous wedding dress designer, Gabi is confined to a small room in his shop and hide her amazing skills within her own wedding designs. But the threads of God’s grace show up in Gabi’s life in unexpected ways, particularly through the charming, Jordan Singer. From his fluent Spanish, boyish grin, and unquenchable charm, he winds into Gabi’s life tighter than bobbin string. His wit and easy manner, coupled with his gentle love for the Lord, opens Gabi’s heart to healing at her deepest level – her soul. Not only does his tenderness awaken her dreams to create her own wedding dresses, but it also begins the process of introducing her to what a good, Godly man can do with the Cinderella dreams of a girl’s heart.

But dreams threaten to unravel when Gabi’s boss discovers Gabi’s talent. Will Gabi give up on every dream, even the newest ones closest to her heart, or will she grab her glass slippers and pin cushion, and run for her dreams? It’s a fantastic story to tug at her heart strings and your funny bone.

Don’t miss it. One of Janice’s best and definitely a hero worth swooning over.

This book was provided by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

Dare to Love Again by Julie Lessman

ImageA few things you can always count on in a Julie Lessman novel:

  1. Romantic tension
  2. Sassy, strong-willed heroines
  3. Broody, stubborn heroes
  4. A happily ever after

With her newest novel, Dare to Love Again, she keeps up her reputation…except for a lessening in the kisses-department – but the romantic tension is still steaming between headstrong and wounded, Allie McClare and hard-nosed, steely policeman, Nick Barone (with a long ‘e’). The repartee between these two is probably one of the best things about Dare to Love Again. He’s been burned by the selfish rich, she’s been burned by shallow men, so both have cultivated sharp tongues to hide their broken hearts. IT’s a fantastic pairing of wit, attraction, and mutual mending in all the right places J

Another wonderful reading by a fast-paced writer with a pension for tension. It will leave you wanting more kisses and definitely some answers to unrequited love in the subplot romance between Cait and Logan, that’s why I’ll be waiting for the third book of Julie’s Heart of San Francisco series to help ease the longing for answers between those two.

Make sure you take the time and enjoy this wonderful story of two broken souls finding healing in the most unexpected places.


This book is available in January 2013 from Revell, Baker Publishing Group. It was provided by Baker Publishing Group and gladly reviewed by me.

The Icing on the Cake by Janice Thompson

9781441242907_p0_v2_s260x420Are you ready for a sweet treat? Something with the flavor of romance and laughter? Then check out Janice Thompson’s newest novel, The Icing on the Cake.

Love comes in any size and at the ‘sweetest’ moments.

The Rossi’s are back and this time it’s the bad-boy-turned-good Armando who sweeps into Scarlet Lindsey’s life and melts her heart like a Gelato on a summer sidewalk.

Scarlet loves her job as a baker, but her insecurities about herself keep her from really stepping out in the romance-department. She’s been content with safe and familiar Kenny, until Armando Rossi walks into her bakery to help Scarlet with a wedding. Ms. Predictable and Safe gets a slice of romance as dangerous and delightful as Italian chocolate.

It’s not going to be a piece of cake for the two of them to overcome their insecurities and find a happily-ever-after together. Armando has as difficult a time believing in himself as Scarlet does. And will Scarlet realize beauty isn’t just icing deep, but is a result of all the special ingredients that make it just the way it is?

The Icing on the Cake will win your heart with it’s cute humor, adorable blunders, and sweet romance.

A Necessary Deception by Laurie Alice Eakes

Oh la la! Seriously! Laurie Alice Eakes newest novel, A Necessary Deception, is a must read for the reader who likes a little bit of everything wrapped up into one book. There is mystery, danger, romance, revenge, chases, escapes, true love (anyone else feel like they are hearing the first few lines of the movie The Princess Bride?)

But all of those things are involved in this novel about God using people and situations to draw His children to Himself.

Young widow, Lydia Gale, desires to do the right thing – but what is the right thing? When she graciously pays one of her husband’s debts by helping a handsome French prisoner gain parole, it begins a chain reaction of scenes that will change her life forever. Threats, kidnappings, and mysterious exploits shake the foundations of Lydia’s life just as she is trying to calm the typical storms of her sisters’ entrance into Society.

It’s an elegant portrayal of the glamour and extravagance of the London Season with the true corruption of it all underneath the lace and manners. Even the illusive villain follows Eakes imagery of the ‘appearance’ of right – so by the end you’re wondering who is genuine and who is not.

Without a doubt the hero, Christien de Meusse, is a worthy portrayal of the opposite. Someone who should not be trusted, but whom Lydia can trust. And he’s SO tres bon to look at too 😉 My, oh my, what a great bunch of romantic tension between the two.

Laurie Alice Eakes spins a tale that keeps you guessing up until the end. Her historical detail is impeccable and the way she draws the reader into the period snares you into the story so that you cannot escape. With page-turning suspense and delicious romance, this book is a delight to read.

Available October 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Hello, Hollywood by Janice Thompson

I LOVE humor!!!

It’s why I like to snuggle up to a snuggly person and watch movies like Sleepless in Seattle, or While You Were Sleeping, or Just Like Heaven or Leap Year or My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

Oh wait – speaking of GREEK!

Janice Thompson’s new novel, Hello Hollywood (second in her Backstage Pass series) is just what I like to read. Funny, crazy at times, with a drool-worthy hero and a hilarious family. Poor Athena, from the first moment she steps on Stephen Cosse’s (aka Adonis) perfect feet, there is never a dull moment. One slapstick fall after another brings them together in the most unlikely of ways.

And they’re both such sweet people, but getting to be inside Athena’s head (and her imagination) makes for a fun ride on the roller coaster of ‘what next’.

It’s a hilarious journey of love framed in with the nostalgic Hollywood era and a band of quirky characters.

From the back of the book:

When it comes to love, one thing’s for sure–it doesn’t follow a script!

Athena Pappas is the head writer on Stars Collide, one of the most  popular sitcoms in television history. But when Vegas comedian Stephen Cosse is
brought in to beef up the show’s suddenly sagging ratings, she starts to worry about her job. Sparks fly as the competition–and attraction–between the two
writers heats up. Athena has never had a problem writing the romances of her characters. So why is her own love life so hard to script?

With humor and a Hollywood-insider viewpoint, Hello, Hollywood! delivers lots of laughs as Athena and Stephen discover that not being in control
of the plot of their lives might just be the best thing that ever happened to them.


“Romance, drama, fun–Hello, Hollywood! has it all.”–Jenny B. Jones, award-winning author of Save the Date and A Charmed Life

“Thoroughly delightful! A blend of contemporary life and romance with nostalgic snapshots of Hollywood’s golden age. Thompson writes with warmth and
humor, creating a world we can all escape to for a little while.”–Rachel Hauck, bestselling and award-winning author of Dining with Joy

this book arrives in October 2011 from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group


Mary Connealy is OUT OF CONTROL

Oh my, what a fun book! Have I ever mentioned how much I love awesome heroes who kiss women senseless?

Who wouldn’t want to be kissed senseless? Seriously!

Add senseless kissing along with a half-crazed cutie, a pregnant widow, an evil hitman, and two control freaks and you have Mary
Connealy’s newest historical romance, Out of Control.

The story is really about Rafe Kincaid, the eldest of three rancher-brothers – and the man who is always ‘in control’. So how else to start the book except to have him be completely Out of Control by meeting Julia Gilliland who is trapped inside a cavern.  – a cavern that has a deep hold onver Rafe’s past.

Rafe’s guilt over his parents’ grief and his youngest brother’s pain shadows his decisions and his ability to live freely. He strives to control everything, because losing control is dangerous.

But then comes Julia – and a kiss within the first 2 minutes of meeting each other. Oh yeah!

Thus begins the adventure.

Julia, an extremely bossy palaentologist-wanna-be, stumbles in Rafe’s life after getting trapped in a cavern while exploring.  Actually, someone trapped her – someone who is after the money her father stole.

The dreaded cavern ruined Rafe’s family but introduced him to a woman  who might be the answer to the loneliness in his heart. She wants to research the wonders of the mysterious cavern – he never wants to visit it again. As they try to solve the mystery of the man hiding out in the cave, will their different goals push them apart?


Is it a perfect match made through stubbornness and trouble? (with lots of senseless kissing and a FABULOUS supporting cast to add the perfect blend of funny, romantic, suspenseful, and crazy.)

Maybe losing control will be the key to losing the guilt of the past and bringing new hope for the future.

If you’re a Mary Connealy fan – get ready for another wonderful story.

If you need a reason to find out what all the excitement is about a Connealy Classic, go pick up the first book in the The Kincaid Brides series – and lose control with Out of Control.

Check out her website at www.maryconnealy.com