Tag Archives: Denise Hunter

2021 Carol Award Finalists

29 Jun

Congratulations to all the wonderful authors who are finalists in the 2021 Carol Awards presented by the ACFW. Now you know what to read this summer! 😉

Contemporary

The Promised Land by Elizabeth Musser

If For Any Reason by Courtney Walsh

On a Coastal Breeze by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Historical

Things We Didn’t Say by Amy Lynn Green

In High Cotton by Ane Mulligan

The Right Kind of Fool by Sarah Loudin Thomas


Historical Romance

Daughter of Rome by Tessa Afshar

Like Flames in the Night by Connilyn Cossette

The Runaway Bride by Jody Hedlund


Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

Dead End by Nancy Mehl

Relative Silence by Carrie Stuart Parks

A Baby’s Right to Choose by David L. Winters


Novella

Far as the Curse is Found, from the collection Joy to the World: A Regency Christmas Collection
by Amanda Barratt

Christmas in Galway, in the collection Christmas Lights and Romance by Elizabeth Ludwig

A New Hope for Christmas by Erin Stevenson


Romance

Love and a Little White Lie by Tammy L. Gray

Starfish Pier by Irene Hannon

Carolina Breeze by Denise Hunter


Romantic Suspense

Lost Down Deep by Sara Davison

Point of Danger by Irene Hannon

Airborne by DiAnn Mills


Short Novel

The Christmas Bargain by Lisa Carter

Killer Insight by Virginia Vaughan

Texas Holiday Hideout by Virginia Vaughan


Speculative

Cry of the Raven (Book 3, The Ravenwood Saga) by Morgan L. Busse

Stealing Embers by Julie Hall

The Vault Between Spaces by Chawna Schroeder

Young Adult

Victoria Grace the Jerkface by S.E. Clancy

The Story Hunter by Lindsay A. Franklin

Mortal Sight by Sandra Fernandez Rhoads


Debut

Things We Didn’t Say by Amy Lynn Green

The Edge of Everywhen by A.S. Mackey

Mortal Sight by Sandra Fernandez Rhoads


Reading Road Trip — Indiana

26 Aug

I have never been to Indiana, but one of my best friends was born and raised there and sings her home state’s praises. She travels back there every summer to spend 2 (she says glorious) weeks at her family’s lakefront cabin. So in honor of Beth, I am taking my blog on a Reading Road Trip to the Crossroads of America — Indiana.

Of the books I have read that are set in Indiana, only one is historical fiction. If you know of any other titles, I would love to add them to my TBR pile!

 

Reading Road Trip — Indiana

Wings Like A Dove by Camille Eide

Can the invisible walls that separate people ever come down?

In 1933, Anna Leibowicz is convinced that the American dream that brought her Jewish family here from Poland is nothing but an illusion. Her father has vanished. Her dreams of college can’t make it past the sweat-shop door. And when she discovers to her shame and horror that she’s with child, her mother gives her little choice but to leave her family. Deciding her best course of action is to try to find her father, she strikes out…hoping against hope to somehow redeem them both.

When Anna stumbles upon a house full of orphan boys in rural Indiana who are in desperate need of a tutor, she agrees to postpone her journey. But she knows from the moment she meets their contemplative, deep-hearted caretaker, Thomas Chandler, that she doesn’t dare risk staying too long. She can’t afford to open her heart to them, to him. She can’t risk letting her secrets out.

All too soon, the townspeople realize she’s not like them and treat her with the same disdain they give the Sisters of Mercy — the nuns who help Thomas and the boys — and Samuel, the quiet colored boy Thomas has taken in. With the Klan presence in the town growing ever stronger and the danger to this family increasing the longer she stays, Anna is torn between fleeing to keep them safe . . . and staying to fight beside them.

Oh, that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest . . .

Before I Saw You by Amy K. Sorrells

Folks are dying fast as the ash trees in the southern Indiana town ravaged by the heroin epidemic, where Jaycee Givens lives with nothing more than a thread of hope and a quirky neighbor, Sudie, who rescues injured wildlife. After a tragedy leaves her mother in prison, Jaycee is carrying grief and an unplanned pregnancy she conceals because she trusts no one, including the kind and handsome Gabe, who is new to town and to the local diner where she works.

Dividing her time between the diner and Sudie’s place, Jaycee nurses her broken heart among a collection of unlikely friends who are the closest thing to family that she has. Eventually, she realizes she can’t hide her pregnancy any longer―not even from the baby’s abusive father, who is furious when he finds out. The choices she must make for the safety of her unborn child threaten to derail any chance she ever had for hope and redemption. Ultimately, Jaycee must decide whether the truest form of love means hanging on or letting go.

Lead Me Home by Amy K. Sorrells

Amid open fields and empty pews, small towns can crush big dreams.

Abandoned by his no-good father and forced to grow up too soon, Noble Burden has set his dreams aside to run the family farm. Meanwhile, James Horton, the pastor of the local church, questions his own calling as he prepares to close the doors for good.

As a severe storm rolls through, threatening their community and very livelihood, both men fear losing what they care about most . . . and reconsider where they truly belong.

Barefoot Summer by Denise Hunter

Madison’s heart has been closed for years. But one summer can change everything.

In the years since her twin brother’s drowning, Madison McKinley has struggled to put it behind her. Despite the support of her close-knit family and her gratifying job as a veterinarian in their riverside town, the loss still haunts her.

To find closure, Madison sets out to fulfill her brother’s dream of winning the town’s annual regatta. But first she has to learn to sail, and fast.

Beckett O’Reilly knows Madison is out of his league, but someone neglected to tell his heart. Now she needs his help—and he’ll give it, because he owes her far more than she’ll ever know.

Madison will do anything—even work with the infamous Beckett O’Reilly—to reach her goal. And as much as she’d like to deny it, the chemistry between them is electrifying. As summer wanes, her feelings for him grow and a fledgling faith takes root in her heart.

But Beckett harbors a secret that will test the limits of their new love. Can their romance survive summer’s challenges? And will achieving her brother’s dream give Madison the peace she desperately seeks?

Boo by Rene Gutteridge

For sixteen years, reclusive horror novelist Wolfe “Boo” Boone has been Skary, Indiana’s greatest attraction, turning the once-struggling town into a thriving tourist trap for the dark side. But then a newly reformed Wolfe quits the genre and starts to pursue Skary’s favorite girl-next-door. Truly horrified, the little town he made famous hatches a scheme to get their most famous resident out of love and back into the thrill business.

 

 

Home to Harmony by Philip Gulley

Welcome to Harmony …

In this acclaimed inaugural volume in the Harmony series, master American storyteller Philip Gulley draws us into the charming world of minister Sam Gardner in his first year back in his hometown, capturing the essence of small-town life with humor and wisdom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Congrats 2017 Inspy Winners!

29 Jun

Congratulations to the winners of the 2017 Inspy Awards. What a great bunch of books! Many of these are on my shelves; the rest I will be adding to the TBR list! Got to get reading!

Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense

Just A Kiss by Denise Hunter

Debut Fiction

Close to You by Kara Isaac

General Fiction

Land of Silence by Tessa Afshar

Historical Romance

The Lady And The Lionheart by Joanne Bischof

Literature for Young Adults

Unblemished by Sara Ella

Mystery/Thriller

If I Run by Terri Blackstock

Speculative Fiction

Shattered Vigil by Patrick Carr

 

Recognizing the need for a new kind of book award, the INSPYs were created by bloggers to discover and highlight the very best in literature that grapples with expressions of the Christian faith.

Book Review: Dancing with Fireflies

27 Mar

687021Jade returns home to Chapel Springs after years of protecting her fragile heart. Then along comes Daniel, making her long to dance again.

Creative and complicated, Jade McKinley felt like a weed in a rose garden growing up in Chapel Springs. When she left, she thought she’d never look back. But now, pregnant, alone, and broke, she has no other choice but to return.
The mayor of Chapel Springs, Daniel Dawson, has been an honorary member of the McKinley family for years. While his own home life was almost non-existent, Daniel fit right into the boisterous McKinley family. He’s loved Jade for years, but she always saw him as a big brother. Now that she’s back, his feelings are stronger than ever.

As Jade attempts to settle in, nothing feels right. God seems far away, she’s hiding secrets from her family, and she’s strangely attracted to the man who’s always called her “squirt.” Finding her way home may prove more difficult than she imagined.

 

 

DHunter-211Denise Hunter is an internationally published best-selling author. Her books have won The Holt Medallion Award, The Reader’s Choice Award, The Foreword Book of the Year Award, and was a RITA finalist. In 1996, inspired by the death of her grandfather, Denise began her first book, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she’s been writing ever since. Her husband says he inspires all of her romantic stories, but Denise insists a good imagination helps, too. When Denise isn’t writing, she’s busy raising three heroes-in-the-making with her husband.

 

My Impressions:

Dancing with Fireflies is the second book in Denise Hunter’s Chapel Springs Romance series. While it can be read as a standalone novel, characters from book 1, Barefoot Summer make a reprise appearance. It is again a sweet, contemporary romance with an endearing heroine and a very hunky hero. Difficult subjects are handled gently and the sparks fly in the relationship. A good pick for a lazy weekend, especially if you are going to spend it at the lake or beach.

Jade McKinley, the free-spririt of the McKinley clan, has had a difficult year away from home in Chicago. She returns to Chapel Springs wounded and determined not to allow herself to be hurt again. The little girl that twirled among fireflies seems to have disappeared altogether. But Daniel Dawson, mayor and volunteer fireman with big political ambitions, can keep secrets and has always been a friend to Jade. With a baby on the way and Daniel’s matchmaking skills, Jade is intent on finding a safe and reliable husband for her future, definitely NOT love!

I like the characters that Hunter creates. They are a little quirky, a little vulnerable, with a big dose of charm. They wrestle with real-life trauma and decisions. They often, as in the case of Jade, have a lot to figure out about themselves and their relationships with God. And of course the romance is always fun with strong, yet understanding male characters that make the story extra special. And there is more to come in the next installment, The Wishing Season, due out later this year.

If you like contemporary romance, you definitely need to get Dancing with Fireflies.

Recommended.

(Thanks to Thomas Nelson and LitFuse for a review copy. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

For more reviews, click HERE.

To purchase a copy of this book, click on the image below.

Book Review: Barefoot Summer

20 Jun

Barefoot-Summer-e1370039961506Madison’s heart has been closed for years. But one summer can change everything.

In the years since her twin brother’s drowning, Madison McKinley has struggled to put it behind her. Despite the support of her close-knit family and her gratifying job as a veterinarian in their riverside town, the loss still haunts her.

To find closure, Madison sets out to fulfill her brother’s dream of winning the town’s annual regatta. But first she has to learn to sail, and fast.

Beckett O’Reilly knows Madison is out of his league, but someone neglected to tell his heart. Now she needs his help—and he’ll give it, because he owes her far more than she’ll ever know.

Madison will do anything—even work with the infamous Beckett O’Reilly—to reach her goal. And as much as she’d like to deny it, the chemistry between them is electrifying. As summer wanes, her feelings for him grow and a fledgling faith takes root in her heart.

But Beckett harbors a secret that will test the limits of their new love. Can their romance survive summer’s challenges? And will achieving her brother’s dream give Madison the peace she desperately seeks?

Excerpt

DHunter-83Denise Hunter lives in Indiana with her husband Kevin and their three sons. In 1996, Denise began her first book, a Christian romance novel, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she’s been writing ever since. Her books often contain a strong romantic element, and her husband Kevin says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!

My Impressions:

Denise Hunter has become a favorite author of mine because she writes contemporary romance that explores not just relationships between men and women but between people and God. In Barefoot Summer she explores how fears, grief and past mistakes impact lives and the way we experience God’s grace. If you like romance with heart and soul, pick up a copy of Barefoot Summer.

Madison has been plagued with fears, nightmares and the lack of closure following her twin brother’s death over ten years ago. Despite her fear of water and her inability to learn to swim, she is determined to fulfill his bucket list by racing in and winning the local sailing regatta. But her plans take on a new dimension when her sailing coach is replaced by reformed bad boy Beckett O’Reilly. Her high school crush on Beckett and her suspicions of his treatment of her younger sister, keep her at arms length even while the old feelings reemerge. Beckett has tried hard to overcome his bad boy image, but no amount of Bible study or prayer seems to change how he sees himself. He also has a guilty secret that keeps him from pursuing Madison. Through their growing friendship and romance, they both learn to trust each other and God.

Well written with complex characters, Barefoot Summer is sure to appeal to the reader who wants a little substance in her romance. Another winner from talented author Denise Hunter. Pick this one up for your time on the back porch, beach or lake.

Recommended.

To read other reviews, click HERE.

(Thanks to NetGalley and LitFuse for an ebook of Barefoot Summer. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase a copy of this book, click on the image below.

 

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Denise is celebrating the release of Barefoot Summer with a Summer Fun Giveaway!

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Summer: it’s all about sunny skies, star-gazing, swimming, spending time with loved ones, and living as if a small part of the weight of the world has been lifted off your shoulders.

Get ready for some serious summer fun with Denise’s 12-Day Summer Sun giveaway. From June 10-21, keep your computer near as you head to the lake or your friend’s barbecue because Denise will be giving away a summer essential each day!

Book Review: Secretly Smitten

18 Jan

687137_w185Summer, fall, winter, spring—Smitten, Vermont, is the place for love . . . and mystery!

There’s a secret in Grandma Rose’s attic—a forgotten set of dog tags belonging to her first love. But David Hutchins was killed in action and never returned to Smitten. How did the dog tags end up in the attic?

The mystery intrigues Rose’s three granddaughters—Tess, Clare, and Zoe—and they decide to investigate, though their mother, Anna, warns against meddling. But as the seasons turn and the mystery unravels, the three young women and their mother encounter some intriguing mystery men of their own. Has a sixty-year-old puzzle sparked something new for this close-knit family of women?

Join popular romance novelists—and real-life BFFs—Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter for four delightful intertwined tales of mystery and sweet intrigue.

Smitten-116RITA-finalist Colleen Coble is the author of several best-selling romantic suspense novels, including Tidewater Inn, and the Mercy Falls, Lonestar, and Rock Harbor series. * Christy Award finalist and two-time winner of the ACFW Book of the Year award, Kristin Billerbeck has appeared on The Today Show and has been featured in the New York Times. Her books include A Billion Reasons Why and What a Girl Wants. * Denise Hunter is the award-winning and best-selling author of several novels, including A Cowboy’s Touch and Sweetwater Gap. She and her husband are raising three boys in Indiana. * Diann Hunt has lived in Indiana forever, been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, her dog, and, well, chocolate.

 

My Impressions:

Do you like stories that are short and sweet with a little bit of mystery and humor and a whole lot of romance? Then you should check out the 4 novella collection in Secretly Smitten, book 2 in the Smitten series. Set in the small Vermont town of Smitten, a town that has dubbed itself the romance destination of the world, 3 sisters and their mother, grandmother, and 2  great-aunts live life to the fullest despite the absence of men in their lives. But all that is about to change as each story in the collection unfolds. Each author takes a sister and the mom and follows the trials and tribulations of finding just the right man. There is also some mystery involving a set of dog tags and Grandma Rose’s long lost love. What you’ll find are 4 romances with an uniting thread of the mystery and the search for Mr. Right.

Although each section is written by a different author, the charming setting, the uniting plot lines and the consistent characterizations make it feel like it could be one novel. Secretly Smitten is book 2, but can be easily read as a standalone. However, you may want to grab book 1, Smitten, also written by the four friends/authors. I enjoyed Secretly Smitten. It was a quick, fresh read that satisfied my craving for a little sweet romance.

Recommended.

(I received Secretly Smitten from LitFuse in return for an honest review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

You can read what other reviewers have to say HERE.

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Welcome to the campaign launch for real-life BFF’s and writing team of Colleen Coble, Kristen Billerbeck, Denise Hunter, and DiAnn Hunt. They’re back with a new installment of the wildly popular Smitten series. Secretly Smitten offers four delightful intertwined tales of mystery and sweet intrigue.

The “gals” are celebrating with a fun Live Webcast on February 5th. They’ll be debuting the *NEW* animated Smitten trailer, giving away tons of prizes, dishing on the book and their friendship. They’ll also be answering audience questions and testing your trivia skills. Don’t miss the fun and bring your friends. Click here to RSVP and set up a reminder.

Book Review: Surrender Bay

9 Jul

Samantha Owen’s estranged stepfather has died, leaving her his cottage in Nantucket–a place she left years ago, never planning to return. As a single mom, Samantha can’t afford to pass up on a financial windfall like ocean-front property. So she travels home to fix up the house and sell it . . . never suspecting that Landon Reed still lives two doors down.

A heart-tugging tale of shattered trust and enduring love all in a romantic, seaside setting.

Excerpt

Denise Hunter lives in Indiana with her husband Kevin and their three sons. In 1996, Denise began her first book, a Christian romance novel, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she’s been writing ever since. Her books often contain a strong romantic element, and her husband Kevin says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!

My Impressions:

If you are looking for a good romance novel with a strong faith message, look no farther than Surrender Bay by Denise Hunter.  Set on Nantucket Island, it is also a great book for your summer getaway, even if it is just the backyard or porch.  Samantha Owens returns to her childhood home with her eleven year old daughter to clean out her step-father’s house.  The proceeds from the sale of the cottage will allow Samantha to pay off bills and give her daughter all she needs to have a good life.  But the memories of abandonment and bad choices become all too real as Samantha struggles to keep her heart untouched and her goals in place.

I found myself thinking about the story of Hosea and Gomer while turning the pages of Surrender Bay.  While the situations are different, this is a story of unconditional love — a gift we just have to accept, not work to deserve.  And while God is not mentioned by the characters, His fingerprints are all over the story.  I think this would be a great book for those who don’t know or understand the love God has for us.  It is a great book to open that discussion.  My book club will be discussing Surrender Bay on Friday evening, and I anticipate some wonderful conversations concerning the story line, the characters and God’s nature.  If you have read Surrender Bay, please leave me a comment I can share with my group.  And if you have not read it, click HERE to see how you can win a copy of the book.

Highly Recommended.

(I purchased Surrender Bay for discussion with my book club.  All opinions are mine alone.)

Book Review: The Accidental Bride

7 Feb

When a wedding reenactment turns real, Shay finds she’s an accidental bride.

Shay Brandenberger is raising her daughter in Moose Creek, Montana, on her childhood ranch, nestled against the Yellowstone River. Despite the hard work, she can’t seem to keep her head above water—and now the bank is threatening to foreclose. She prays for a miracle, but the answer she receives is anything but expected.

Having agreed to play the bride in the Founders’ Day wedding reenactment, Shay is mortified to be greeted at the end of the aisle by none other than Travis McCoy, her high-school sweetheart—the man who left her high and dry for fame and fortune on the Texas rodeo circuit.

Then the unthinkable happens. Thanks to a well-meaning busybody and an absentminded preacher, the make-believe vows result in a legal marriage. But before Shay can say annulment, Travis comes up with a crazy proposal. If she refuses his offer, she may lose her home. If she accepts, she may lose her heart.

Shay isn’t sure if the recent events are God’s will or just a preacher’s blunder. Will trusting her heart to the man who once shattered it be the worst mistake of her life? Or could their marriage be the best accident that ever happened?

Excerpt

Denise Hunter lives in Indiana with her husband Kevin and their three sons. In 1996, Denise began her first book, a Christian romance novel, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she’s been writing ever since. Her books often contain a strong romantic element, and her husband Kevin says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!

My Impressions:

Who are we supposed to please, man or God?  Denise Hunter explores this question in her new romance novel, The Accidental Bride.  Shay Brandenberger has been under the scrutiny of the people of Moose Creek since she was a child, or so she thinks.  Poor choices and poor reactions have contributed to her desire to remain under the radar. But her first love, the man that left her at the altar 14 years before, has returned and all attempts to stay out of the limelight are lost. And vows recited in a Founder’s Day reenactment mean that Shay and Travis are now accidentally married!  Travis uses the mixup to convince the suspicious Shay that he really does love her.

If you like light romance, I think you will like The Accidental Bride.  I liked the characters, especially Travis.  His sacrificial love really hit the mark!  And while the actuality of being accidentally married may be pure poetic license, I thought the way Hunter portrayed the dilemma was spot on.  Set in ranch country in Montana, The Accidental Bride captured the flavor of that region.   This is the second offering in the Big Sky Romance series and can easily read as a standalone.  But if you want to start at the beginning, check out A Cowboy’s Touch.

Recommended.

(I received The Accidental Bride from Thomas Nelson and B&B Media Group in exchange for an honest review.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.)