Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Can't Wait Wednesday: The Heart Between Us

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine

The Heart Between Us by Lindsay Harrel
Two Sisters, One Heart Transplant, and a Bucket List
March 13, 2018
Thomas Nelson

About the Book
Megan Jacobs always wished for a different heart. Her entire childhood was spent in and out of hospitals, sitting on the sidelines while her twin sister Crystal played all the sports, got all the guys, and had all the fun. But even a heart transplant three years ago wasn’t enough to propel Megan’s life forward. She’s still working as a library aide and living with her parents in her small Minnesota hometown, dreaming of the adventure she plans to take “once she’s well enough.” Meanwhile, her sister is a successful architect with a handsome husband and the perfect life—or so Megan thinks.
When her heart donor’s parents give Megan their teenage daughter’s journal—complete with an unfulfilled bucket list—Megan connects with the girl she meets between the pages and is inspired to venture out and check off each item. Caleb—a friend from her years in and out of the hospital—reenters her life and pushes her to find the courage to take the leap and begin her journey. She’s thrown for a loop when Crystal offers to join her for reasons of her own, but she welcomes the company and the opportunity to mend their tenuous relationship.
As Megan and Crystal check items off the bucket list, Megan fights the fears that have been instilled in her after a lifetime of illness. She must choose between safety and adventure and learn to embrace the heart she’s been given so that she can finally share it with the people she loves most.

Why I Want It
This book got on my radar thanks to the recommedation of the amazing Melissa Tagg  and my excitement has just been building for it more and more! I can't wait to discover this story!

BONUS

Endorsements for her debut novel, One More Song to Sing, from some of my favorite authors:

“One More Song to Sing will have your heart singing. As if fresh off the set of the television series Nashville, this book captured me from the first strum of Ellie’s guitar with the drama of a young singer reaching for her dreams only to discover so much more. Harrel has a way with words that made me feel the music, hear the roar of the crowd, taste the angst of fragile hearts and long for a happy ending. Like a love song that weaves inside and fills you with hope, this beautifully written, heart-tugging story about loss, second chances and God’s providential grace in the darkest of circumstances will linger with you long after the sweet ending. A brilliant debut novel!”
-Susan May Warren, RITA award winning, best-selling novelist of the Montana Rescue series

“Lindsay Harrel is a fantastic new voice in the world of inspirational women’s fiction. The story of Olivia and Ellie is heart-tugging and poignant, leaving an impression long after the last page, and the Nashville music scene is especially intriguing. Make room on your keeper shelf because Harrel definitely has more songs of her own to sing.”
-Melissa Tagg, Author of the acclaimed Walker Family series and the Enchanted Christmas collection

“Charming, full of melody and lyrical prose, Harrel pens a solid debut. Scenes from Nashville and the country music world are spot on and will delight fans of women’s fiction, romance and music.”

-Rachel Hauck, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author

Q&A WITH LINDSAY (Borrowed from her website)

How long have you been writing?

I’m one of those I’ve-been-writing-since-I-was-a-kid people. I remember creating “books” by folding over a stack of papers and stapling them together, then writing and illustrating them (although the writing was much better than the very poor illustrating!). I took creative writing in high school but decided there was too much competition to consider writing books as a career. I decided to pursue journalism instead, which ended up being a great route, since you learn how to “write tight” in journalism school. I went on to receive my master’s as well, but during my program, something happened. I took a fiction class as an elective and remembered how much I loved creating stories. At the time, I also worked with several people who were writing fiction on the side. We talked about writing all the time, and it got me excited about trying my hand at it. So when I finished my degree in 2011, I began to seriously pursue publication.

What has your publication journey looked like?

Like almost every author, it’s been paved with rejection. I wrote my first book quickly in 2011—it’s now something I lovingly refer to as The Book That Must Not Be Named (Harry Potter reference, anyone?). Once I pitched that book at a conference and figured out it was not very good, I attended several retreats and other conferences and read a ton of books to strengthen my craft. I wrote another book and landed an agent, who asked me to rewrite the book because “the premise [was] flawed.” Double groan! But I did it, and I learned a lot in the process. Then, when nothing came of pitching that book, I wrote another book, and it was finally contracted by a small press (Ashberry Lane) in 2016. I wrote yet another book, and it began to look like I might never land the “big contract” I’d always dreamed about. I even took a break from writing for several months and prayed about whether to set aside my proverbial writing pen for a season, since I had a toddler and was pregnant with my second son. But God had other ideas. In late 2016, I was offered a two-book contract with Thomas Nelson (an imprint of HarperCollins Christian Publishing), my dream publisher. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to work with such a well-known publisher and to improve my craft with the help of the amazing team of editors there.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I look for inspiration everywhere, but the main spark for my books is often something I hear on the radio or read in the news. And while I don’t write people I know into my stories, characters sometimes will have personalities or quirks similar to people I’ve observed. I usually end up putting some of myself in every main character I write as well, though not intentionally! In addition, some of the themes I’ve dealt with in my novels have been things I’ve experienced personally. For example, in The Heart Between Us (2018), Crystal deals with a family member who has had a long-term illness. My mother fought cancer for many of my formative years, and that’s something that left a lasting impact on my life. It’s always interesting to delve into these types of topics within a story. I always learn something new about myself in the process.

Why do you write?

To become a millionaire! Kidding, kidding. I do know some authors who say they simply have to write or they’ll burst. That’s not really me. Telling stories is difficult. Being original takes energy, vulnerability, and lots of emotion. In other words, it takes a lot out of you. It’s far easier in some ways to NOT write. But I know it’s what I’m meant to do because it’s so challenging. Nothing else requires me to rely on God and to be part of something bigger than myself like when I write. I also love knowing that my stories touch others’ lives. To be able to offer encouragement and hope to people who have great need of it makes my job as a writer priceless.

Who are your favorite authors?

Oh man, this is a tough question. Like many readers of Christian fiction, the first book I ever read in the genre was Francine Rivers’ Redeeming Love. It’s a powerful book about God’s deep abiding love for his people and the forgiveness he offers each of us—even those we’d see as the “least deserving.” Other authors whose works constantly challenge me include Susan Meissner, Katie Ganshert, Susan May Warren, Rachel Hauck, and Melissa Tagg in the fiction realm, and Lysa TerKeurst, Ann Voskamp, and Shauna Niequist in the non-fiction realm.

What advice do you have for others who want to write? 


Keep writing. It sounds cliche, but it’s the truth. If one book keeps getting rejected, move on to a new project. It will bring a fresh perspective and an opportunity to strengthen your craft. Also, join a writing organization; if you’re writing Christian fiction, American Christian Fiction Writers is the best! My Book Therapy is also an amazing organization that helps writers learn the craft. I would not be published without what I learned from both of these groups. I’d also say to attend conferences and get online—and network! Get to know others in your industry and never stop learning. Finally, stay focused. Redefine success. The writing industry can be slow-going and it can be difficult to feel like you’re making traction. Keep your eye on the prize and remember that forward progress is exactly that—progress.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Top Ten Books in My TBR Pile I'm Thinking About Breaking Up With

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

I've been evaluating my TBR lately, especially since I'm running out of shelf space. Here are 10 that I'm just not sure I really care to read anymore. I stuck with the Christian fiction options but there are also several mainstream novels on the fence. I'm taking polls in my instagram story (@adventuresofaliterarynature) if you want to weigh in on whether I should read them or skip them!

#1. Sushi Series by Camy Tang

#2. Sweet Sanctuary by Kim Vogel Sawyer

#3. Tahn by L.A. Kelly

#4. Pompeii by T. L. Higley

#5. Angel Sister & Small Town Girl by Ann H. Gabhart

#6. Love Finds You In Bridal Veil Oregon by Miralee Ferrell

#7. Cowgirl Trail by Susan Page Davis

#8. The Pawn & The Rook by Steven James

#9. Unspoken by Dee Henderson

#10 Forbidden & Mortal by Ted Dekker & Tosca Lee

Monday, February 19, 2018

It's Monday! What Are Reading? #280

Hosted by: The Book Date

Here is what I finished last week:
Adored both of the Courtney Walsh novels and enjoyed Let's All Be Brave.

What I am currently reading:
Haven't started my next read yet.

What I hope to read this week:
Super excited for both of these!

Hope you have a great reading week, thanks for taking the time to check out mine!
Leave your link below and I'll be sure to stop by!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Sea Before Us by Sarah Sundin

About the Book
In 1944, American naval officer Lt. Wyatt Paxton arrives in London to prepare for the Allied invasion of France. He works closely with Dorothy Fairfax, a "Wren" in the Women's Royal Naval Service. Dorothy pieces together reconnaissance photographs with thousands of holiday snapshots of France--including those of her own family's summer home--in order to create accurate maps of Normandy. Maps that Wyatt will turn into naval bombardment plans.
As the two spend concentrated time together in the pressure cooker of war, their deepening friendship threatens to turn to love. Dorothy must resist its pull. Her bereaved father depends on her, and her heart already belongs to another man. Wyatt too has much to lose. The closer he gets to Dorothy, the more he fears his efforts to win the war will destroy everything she has ever loved.
The tense days leading up to the monumental D-Day landing blaze to life under Sarah Sundin's practiced pen with this powerful new series.

My Thoughts
I first have to talk about how much I love this whole series idea, three brothers, one in the navy, one in the air force, and one in the army, each taking part in a different facet of the D-Day invasion. Giving us three different looks at the same historic event. I could not love the genius of this more, it's completely brilliant.
Wyatt is the oldest of the three brothers, but after an unfortunate accident and a wrong committed in fear, he hasn't spoken to any of his family memebers for years. He deeply regrets his actions and is driven by a desire to make things right and one day beg his family's forgiveness. I really admired the way he was honest about his sins and ran to God, clinging to his faith. Honestly there was so much I loved about Wyatt, his quiet strength, his desire to do the right thing regardless of personal cost, and the gentle way he loved without pushing. Really I could go on for days about just how amazing this hero was!
And then there was Dorothy. I loved her a lot too and my heart broke for her. She faced so much loss and lived life feeling unlovable but that never stopped her from loving others. Whether it was caring for a father who seemed to be checked out from life or making sure a friend had enough to eat she was always looking out for others. It was a bit frustrating to watch as she hid her true self just to please a guy who didn't deserve her, especially since it blinded her to the amazing guy right in front of her.
Wyatt and Dorothy's strengths and weakness complimented each other and it was beautiful to watch as they encouraged the other and helped them see their best selves. Dorothy learned to stop seeing herself as unable to be loved and to accept the love of God and Wyatt. And Wyatt realized he had to stop working for the forgiveness God had already given and to forgive himself for the mistakes of his past.
All of the historical details that were woven into this story were absolutely facinating and I was loving them as much as the characters. Many of the behind the scenes actions that made D-Day happen I'd never really learned at it was so cool to read about.
So in case you couldn't tell I absolutely adored every second of this book and I cannot wait to read Adler and Clay's stories!

Meet the Author
Sarah Sundin is the author of Through Waters Deep, Anchor in the Storm, and When Tides Turn in the Waves of Freedom series, as well as Wings of the Nightingale and the Wings of Glory series. Her novels have received starred reviews from Booklist and Library Journal. Her popular Through Waters Deep was a Carol Award finalist and named to Booklist's "101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years." A graduate of UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, she works on-call as a hospital pharmacist. Sarah lives in California. Visit www.sarahsundin.com for more information.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Top Ten (New) Heroes to Love

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

I wanted to feature some swoon-worthy heroes for the V-day freebie but there are just too many that I love! So I narrowed it down to heroes from books that I've read in the last year(ish) and limited myself to one per author. So without further ado, here are some heroes that had me melting more than a little bit!

#1. Lawry Hampton from The Bound Heart by Dawn Crandall

#2. Trent Hawthorne from An Uncommon Courtship by Kristi Ann Hunter

#3. Peter Holstein from A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White

#4. Ryan Brooks from Just Look Up by Courtney Walsh

#5. Wyatt Paxton from The Sea Before Us by Sarah Sundin

#6. Seb Pierce from One Enchanted Noel by Melissa Tagg

#7. Wes Harrison from Just the Way You Are by Pepper Basham

#8. Chase Griffin from His Steadfast Love by Julie Lessman

#9. Noble Rynallt from The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz

#10. Parker Mitchell from Still Life by Dani Pettrey

So if you've read these books do you agree with me? Who are some heroes you've been loving lately?

Monday, February 12, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? #279

Hosted by: The Book Date

Here is what I finished last week:
Three amazing books that touched me in different ways!

What I am currently reading:
I'm really enjoying Let's All Be Brave. I've just started Founding Brothers but with my love of early American history I'm sure it will be interesting! As for Just Look Up I say "currently reading" but technically I've just reread the first page a couple times since every time I pick it up I'm interrupted. But I know I'll love it!

What I hope to read this week:
Not sure if I'll get around to it but I'm hoping to read this next!

Hope you have a great reading week, thanks for taking the time to check out mine!
Leave your link below and I'll be sure to stop by!

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Can't Wait Wednesday: A Most Noble Heir

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine

A Most Noble Heir by Susan Anne Mason
March 6, 2018
Bethany House Publishers

About the Book
When stable hand Nolan Price learns from his dying mother that he is actually the son of the Earl of Stainsby, his plans for a future with kitchen maid Hannah Burnham are shattered. Once he is officially acknowledged as the earl's heir, Nolan will be forbidden to marry beneath his station.
Unwilling to give up the girl he loves, he devises a plan to elope--believing that once their marriage is sanctioned by God, Lord Stainsby will be forced to accept their union. However, as Nolan struggles to learn the ways of the aristocracy, he finds himself caught between pleasing Hannah and living up to his father's demanding expectations.
At every turn, forces work to keep the couple apart, and a solution to remain together seems further and further away. With Nolan's new life pulling him irrevocably away from the woman he loves, it seems only a miracle will bring them back together.

Why I Want It
I loved the two books I've read by this author and I'm looking forward to this one!

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Top Ten Books That Have Been on My TBR the Longest

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

#1. The Colonel's Lady and The Frontiersman's Daughter by Laura Frantz
I've read every other one of Laura's books but I just haven't managed to get to these two.

#2. The Lady of Milkweed Manor by Julie Klassen
This is the only one of this author's early books I haven't read (though I've missed her last several releases too).

#3. Proof by Jordyn Redwood
This book has been on my radar since it's release and I was lucky enough to win a copy but it has sat unread on my shelf for too long.

#4. A Twist of Faith by Pepper Basham
I've had this one on kindle for forever and I also recently purchased the paperback. This will be the year I finally read it!

#5. A Most Inconvenient Marriage by Regina Jennings
I love Regina's books but when I didn't get this one for review it slipped through the cracks. I eventually got it as a birthday gift but I still haven't read it.

#6. The Secert Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Kate Rorick & Bernie Su
Loved this YouTube mini-series and was so excited to get the book but life and other books have kept me from it.

#7. Lizzy and Jane by Katherine Reay
I loved this author's debut but yet I haven't read anymore of her books.

#8. Fair Play by Deeanne Gist
Love this author and the first book of fair books was fun but sadly I still need to read this one.

#9. Stuck Together by Mary Connealy
I'm a little ashamed I still have not read this one. I read all her other books and even the others in this series but it took me a little while to get my hands on this one and I just keep forgetting I haven't read it.


#10. A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander
Loved book one in this Belmont series and yet book two (and now three) still have not been read.

Monday, February 05, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? #278

Hosted by: The Book Date

Here is what I finished last week:
Two great reads this week! Love how the covers colors coordinate!

What I am currently reading:
My two non-fiction reads that I'm working through. Both are powerfully good!

What I hope to read this week:
So excited to start this one as soon as I get some reviews written!

Hope you have a great reading week, thanks for taking the time to check out mine!
Leave your link below and I'll be sure to stop by!

Friday, February 02, 2018

Month in Review: January 2018


January was a good month for me, especially in the book and blogging departments! The new year brought a renewed passion for reading and getting back into regularly posting on here! I finished NINETEEN books!! That is almost a third of the total I read last year-definitely looking up! I also started a bookstagram (@adventuresofaliterarynature) this month and I'm really enjoying it! 

The Books
Crossfire by Susan May Warren
Engaged in Trouble by Jenny B. Jones
You'll Get Through This by Max Lucado
Courtship in Crisis by Thomas Umstattd Jr.
Cool Beans by Erynn Mangum
Latte Daze by Erynn Mangum
Double Shot by Erynn Mangum
The Lawman Claims His Bride by Renee Ryan 
Hearts Entwined by Witemeyer, Connealy, Jennings, and Jagears
For Woman Only by Shaunti Feldhahn

Other Reviews I Wrote This Month

Books I Added to My Collection This Month
All review copies except Let's All Be Brave!

Goal Progress

-Read 75 books 19/75
-Read 12 Christian Living Books 1/12
-Read 2 educational books and/or biographies 0/2
-Finish 1-2 classics 0/2
-Read 15 non-review fiction books 10/15
-Read 5 kindle TBR 4/5
-Try 5 new-to-me authors 3/5

Already getting close to some of these goals so I'll probably being uping them! Based on last year I thought they were reasonable but so far this year is going much better than last!