On a Coastal Breeze, by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Opening this book, it’s like walking into a friend’s family home and getting all caught up. Fisher has created an excellent cast of characters for readers to enjoy.

The conflicts are pretty interesting. I don’t want to detail them here, however, because I don’t want to spoil the fun for potential readers. But I will say that the author keeps a good level of suspense, not revealing exactly what is wrong right away.

Another feature of this book is that the story takes place on an island. The island has plenty going on, and needs a lot of work for it to be the kind of destination and liveable community people will want both to visit and to settle.

This is the second book in this series, I also read the first one. Good enough to come back for more, that’s for sure! The Grayson family, with 3 daughters, has many problems, issues, romances, and interesting quirks. Enough to keep you turning pages in order to learn the outcomes.

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Cooking Up a Mystery, by Gail Palotta

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Just finished this one, in time for its release, which is today! Congrats to Palotta! Laney and Eric’s romance is the primary focus of this light-hearted, enjoyable cozy mystery. We readers are happy to be along for the ride as two people (who have been burned in the past) cook up a sweet relationship.

Laney has a tea shop/restaurant and she’s super-determined to make it a success. Strange occurences begin, and her fragile peace is threatened.

Eric, incapacitated by an injury to his leg, is unable to physically help Laney, but he wants to help her, that’s for sure. He’s a kind teacher, and meeting Laney and tasting her food gives him bright spots during his confinement.

Palotta cooks up a pleasing romance/mystery, and the recipes at the end of the book are amazing! As they say in restaurants, when they set your plate in front of you, “Enjoy!”

Available on Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.

Thank you!

Susan Karsten, blog author

Everything About Us, by Lisa Lickel

Hi! Susan Karsten here…recently, I mentioned my  new release, Charlotte’s Dilemma, a novella part of a series of 8 novellas connected by a theme. The theme comes from the famous Bible passage Phillipians 4:8 that begins, Whatever is pure…, and ends, …think on these things. Thus, the series subtitle: Ponder This!

But today, we are here to read a review of Everything About Us, a delectable romance set in Wisconsin, and Los Angeles.

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Here’s the back cover copy:

Danny Winston, America’s newest heartthrob, thinks he can have it all—his dream business and the girl. He’s sure he can convince Shelly, the woman who made it all possible, to marry him. When things keep going wrong, Danny can’t ask her to be a partner in failure.

Shelly Colter isn’t sure she can give up her California-style life with all the glamour, for a move to quaint, rural Wisconsin. At first, she thought Danny, her leading-man protégé, was all she needed, but when things get serious, her secret might ruin everything.

When Danny and Shelly realize they have a common enemy thwarting their dreams, they can choose to fight for each other or risk losing out to fear. It’s an epic he-thinks, she-thinks, with the truth somewhere in between. Will they stop worrying everything beyond their control and rely on God first, then each other?

For this blog, I interviewed author Lisa Lickel on the topic of Everything About Us, the second volume of a planned trilogy romance between Shelly Colter, a Hollywood advertising agent on the rise, and Danny Winston, an accidental major motion picture actor. The first story, Everything About You, released in March 2016.  The third story, Everything Noel, is due out December 1, 2020, part of the holiday extravaganza from Pelican Ventures.

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Lisa, is there one particular message or “moral of the story” you hope readers walk away with?

The theme “whatever is true” could be shared in so many ways. I hope readers see what happens when we think we’re protecting our loved ones by not sharing our hopes and fears with each other. Even in light fiction a parallel truth can help us see beyond ourselves.

Curious, where did the idea for Everything About Us come from?

When our editor Susan Baganz called for a second series of novellas based on another scripture verse, I naturally thought of my characters from the first series with themes from First Corinthians 13, Love Is… Their story wasn’t complete, and although we knew it ended with an engagement, we didn’t know how it got there. I wanted to fill in that gap.

Tell us about your writing process.

I still like to plot on paper, figure out what research I need to do to get started, and create a notes and research page and a character/scene/setting page to look at while I write. Sometimes I do a synopsis and base my chapters from it. When I’m actively writing I try to aim for a certain page goal or word count. I often share my work with a writing partner or group.

Interesting! Are there any similarities between you and your characters? AND/or are there any parts of the story that are true to life, or based on your experiences?

We are doing more fish farming in Wisconsin, and I based the farm Danny is trying to build on two that I researched and visited. Are Danny and Shelly like me? I suppose there’s a little insecurity and bravado in everyone, isn’t there?

Author bio:

Lisa Lickel is a writer and editor who lives with her husband in the rolling hills of western Wisconsin. A complete list of her novels: mysteries, award-winning romance and children’s books, and contemporary fiction can be found on her website. She has written newspaper features, short stories, magazine articles and radio theater. An avid book reviewer and blogger, freelance editor, and writing mentor, she loves to encourage new authors. She has two grown and married sons and oodles of grandkids. Find more at www. LisaLickel.com.

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A Perfect Fit, by Christine Schimpf

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Hi! Susan Karsten here…recently, I told you about my own novella’s release, Charlotte’s Dilemma. It’s part of a series of 8 novellas (short novels) connected by a theme from the famous bible passage Phillipians 4:8 that begins, Whatever is pure…, and ends, …think on these things. Thus we have the series subtitle: Ponder This!

But today, we are here to learn about Christine Schimpf’s newly released novella also in the Ponder This series, A Perfect Fit.

Here’s the back-cover blurb:

Hannah Lockhart has every intention of saying yes to the marriage proposal she’s expecting…but the proposal never comes. Now she has only one option: pick up the pieces of her broken heart and start a brand-new life.

Matt Winters has never considered himself the marrying kind. He enjoys his freedom and easy lifestyle…until the day he meets Hannah Lockhart. Now, everything he believes about himself begins to change.

Sometimes the hardest lessons in life bring the best of blessings like a perfect fit.

I interviewed Christine Schimpf for this blog, and she enlightened us on some of the background of A Perfect Fit.

 

Christine, is there one particular message or “moral of the story” you hope readers walk away with?
Sometimes in life we fail to see how God is always working in our lives until we release our control in trust in Him.
What can you tell us about your writing process?
My best times to write are in the morning and early evening.
I’m a plotter and work off of a continually changing outline
Wondering…are there any similarities between you and your characters? AND/or are there any parts of the story that are true to life, or based on your experiences?

Many of the struggles the heroine and hero go through are based on experiences that either I went through, or someone very close to me has had. In my story-lines, I strive to bring real-life challenges where we are tempted and overcome through the grace of God.
Dear Readers, Here’s Christine’s author bio:
Born and raised in a small town in southeastern Wisconsin, Christine graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She is an award-winning essayist which led her to copy editing and writing. After self-publishing two books, she now writes inspirational romance and is a member of the Romance Writers of America.

She lives on five acres in the country with her husband and golden retriever. A love for the outdoors finds her enjoying golf, tennis, kayaking and  listening to nature.

All of her books are available on Amazon: Nick, The Journey of a Lifetime, The Ticket, A Christmas Kind of Perfect, A Perfect Fit and coming soon A Perfect Ending.
 
Social media links:
Facebook: Christine Schimpf, author
Twitter: @ChrstineSchimpf

 

This Worthy Heart, by Dixie Jo Jarchow

Hi! Susan Karsten here with a review of This Worthy Heart.  Recently, I mentioned my own new release, Charlotte’s Dilemma. It’s a novella and part of a series of 8 novellas (short novels) connected by the famous bible passage Phillipians 4:8 that begins, Whatever is pure…, and ends, …think on these things. Thus we have the series subtitle: Ponder This!

This Worthy Heart is a novella with a lot going for it. From the first few pages we are rooting for the heroine Celestina (known as Cele), who wins our sympathy early on. We root for her as she suffers physical pain, being taken advantage of by others, doubts, and illness.

You just know the Lord has something good for Cele down the road, but when? And what will it be? Several potential mates are circling (I won’t say who), but she may not make the right choice. The man that’s kind and humble, or the man that offers the bright lights and big time lifestyle?

Many interesting elements are in the mix, including a tennis pro, tiny dog, soup kitchen, and living with a medical condition.

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You’ll get a kick out of Cele and all her doings! This novella is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

To Complicate Matters, by Linda Widrick

Hi! Susan Karsten here…reviewing a new release: To Complicate Matters, a sweet romance, is part of the same series as my own new release, Charlotte’s Dilemma. The series of 8 novellas (short novels) are connected the famous bible passage Phillipians 4:8 that begins, Whatever is pure…, and ends, …think on these things. Thus we have the series subtitle: Ponder This!

To Complicate Matters is a romance with very appealing settings and a lot of fun on the path to true love. Angelica falls hard and fast for her snarky roommate’s brother, Thad. She accidentally leaves an embarassing message on his answering machine (she thinks she’s called her roommate) and a bunch of hilarious complications ensue.

One of the things I liked so much about this story is the way the heroine Angelica’s attraction to hero Thad is portrayed.  Hero’s attraction in return is charming and believable.

Angelica, a pie-maker and occasional TV guest chef, goes to great and hilarious lengths to get that message back, and do it prior to their first date. She thinks he may be THE ONE, and she fears she’s ruined everything.

I think you’ll enjoy this book and all the fun of the romance.

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The Happy Camper by Melody Carlson

100_9217Dillon’s life is turned on its head when she quitsher job, and dumps her boyfriend. She goes home to Grandpa in rural Oregon. A new man is in her sights, as well as a new interest in vintage travel trailers. She goes back to the old with her highschool career of swim instructor, and back into her conflict-filled relationship with her mother who is also on the scene, licking wounds from her own breakup.

The set up is great, there are ample funny and touching moments. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. I’ve already told all my reading friends about this one, and now you know, too!