When Tides Turn (Waves of Freedom #3) by Sarah Sundin

Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Revell
Publication Date: March 2016

Tired of being viewed as just a pretty face, Quintessa Beaumont enlists in the Navy’s newly formed WAVES program for women. Not only will it aid in the war effort, it will give her the chance to prove she can also be useful. However, in her pursuit of demonstrating she can contribute more than beauty, Tessa becomes embroiled in a case that reeks of sabotage and spies.

No-nonsense Lt. Dan Avery longs for the sea, instead he’s stuck behind a desk. But he’ll endure anything to make admiral, including hold on to his land legs a while longer and swear off love. So he’s less than thrilled when vivacious, fun-loving Tessa bursts onto his radar. She’s exactly the kind of distraction his mentor has warned him about, and Dan is determined to keep her far away.

Sarah Sundin does it again! When Tides Turn hits the trifecta with a beautifully-blended story of love, intrigue, and faith. Well-researched history, heart-warming characters, and a historical setting that pops to life make this novel impossible to set down.

Despite my immense love for Jim Avery (Through Waters Deep), I think his no-nonsense brother has taken his place as my favorite hero in the Waves of Freedom series. I don’t want to give anything away, but just wait until the scene in which Dan gives Tessa one of the sweetest gifts ever. I’m pretty sure I melted into a puddle right then and there.

As always, the characters are exquisitely developed as they face life and faith obstacles many of us can relate to. Sundin has a knack for understanding and addressing the human psyche. Though Tessa and I are night and day different, I could connect with her and found I, too, struggle with a lot of her fears and worries. It was a reminder that despite people’s differences; we deal with a lot of the same issues.

I strongly recommend When Tides Turn to anyone looking for a great historical romance with a hint of mystery. If you haven’t read the first two installments, I encourage you to start there, not because they are imperative to follow this book, but because the series is too good to miss.

Review copy provided by publisher. Thanks!

**Originally posted on Radiant Lit.

Spotlight: Titanis by Ronie Kendig

About the Story:

Never Again.
A vow written in the blood of the fallen is threatened in Australia’s rugged Top End.

Eamon “Titanis” Straider left the military and civilization behind after betrayal cost the life of a teammate. Living on this super yacht, the ViCross, Eamon reluctantly agrees to host an event for his parents, who are part of the Australian political machine. When an attractive woman arrives with his mother, Eamon is furious—and determined to find out what she is hiding.

Lady Ellis Rostov-Leclair has never felt so threatened as she does by the infamous “Beast of Cape York,” a man notorious for removing people—by force if necessary—from his yacht. His uncanny perception endangers not only her reason for being aboard the ship, but a secret she’s held for twenty years.

When the yacht is seized by a man with one goal: make those responsible for his brother’s death pay—the Beast of Cape York must live up to his name and protect those under his charge, or die trying.

About the Author:

Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, bestselling author who grew up an Army brat. She married a veteran, and together their lives are never dull with four children and two dogs–a a Maltese Menace and a retired military working dog, Vvolt N629. Ronie’s degree in psychology has helped her pen novels of intense, raw characters.

Since launching onto the publishing scene in 2010, Ronie and her books have hit bestseller lists and garnered awards and critical acclaim.

Connect with Ronie through her Website, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Character Spotlight + Giveaway : Pepper Basham’s Wes and Eisley

About the Story:

Single mom, Eisley Barrett, takes a vacation from her Blue Ridge Mountain “mom” life to travel to the English countryside in search of answers to an ancestral mystery. Burned by romance, she certainly isn’t planning to stumble into her own fairy tale. Leading man and former rogue, Christopher Wesley Harrison is fighting to rebuild a new reputation after a tragedy introduced him to the power of redemption. His self-protective avoidance of romance crumbles at Eisley’s two left feet and her authenticity send his heart into unscripted territory. When his past threatens to ruin their second chance at love, can some Appalachian matchmaking and letters from the grave salvage their unexpected romance?

Meet Eisley:

Resembles: Amy Adams

Physical description: Red-head of medium height. She’s not super thin – kind of average, even though she sees herself as more well-rounded than average.

Age: 31

Loves: Romance movies and books. She LOVES her family. She’s a history nerd, especially as it relates to the UK. Her profession is as a preschool teacher in a school for kids who have learning challenges.

Hates: Black-eyed peas and the way eating chocolate leaves a long-lasting representation on her hips. She’s not a fan of reality T.V. because if it’s on, she has a really hard time looking away, even though she knows she should.

Quirk: She’s clumsy and has the unhappy habit of talking first, thinking next.

Favorite chocolate/dessert: Mama’s Chocolate Marshmallow Cookies.

Favorite place to explore/visit: England – anywhere.

Biggest struggle: Believing in herself.

Background: She’s a single mom of 3 cute kiddos – Nathan, Pete, and Emily. She grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia as a twin and oldest in her family with 6 siblings. Her dad is into construction part-time and helps with the preschool part-tine, her mom and sister run a bakery.

Work: She’s a preschool teacher in a school for children with learning differences.

Other: She wants to believe in happily-ever-after and magic. And maybe…all it takes is a great big God and a swoony hero to make her fairy tale come true! 🙂

Meet Wes:

Resembles: A cross between Henry Cavill and Richard Armitage (the voice definitely resembles more of Richard Armitage).

Pinterest: Photo 1 and Photo 2

Physical description: Tall-ish, muscular and lean, broad shouldered with dark hair and smoky-blue eyes. Eisley describes him a ‘Greek god-ish’ or “Ghirardelli in human form.”

Age: 34

Loves: He loves story. Family. Beautiful landscapes. A good kiss or snuggle. Doesn’t mind a great fiction book at all, knows how to fence, and enjoys long walks.

Hates: The paparazzi, pushy people, lies…he’d lost his love for dancing until recently.

Quirk: An affinity for finding closets for some reason…

Favorite chocolate/dessert: He loves chocolate, but he really prefers fruit desserts. Apple dishes are his favorite.

Biggest struggle: He really struggles with trusting people – especially new people in his life.

Background: Wes is the middle child of three siblings to Daniel and Eleanor Harrison. He grew up in a very wealthy family with a long history of property owners on their estate of Harrogate Park. When Wes was a teen, his older brother developed cancer and died, leaving Wes bitter and rebellious against the faith he’d grown up with. It took a tragedy and a lot of love from his family (including his younger sister Cate) to bring him back from the brink of despair…and eventually open his heart again.

Work: Wes is an actor of smaller films, particularly costume dramas. He’s also a budding screenwriter.

Other: He’s swoony. Like Eisley, once he’s committed, he’s focused on forever.

Explore the world of Just the Way You Are:

Giveaway:

Click on the image or Rafflecopter link to enter.

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About the Author:

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of 5 great kids, speech-pathologist to about fifty more, lover of chocolate, jazz, and Jesus. Her debut historical novel, The Thorn Bearer, released in May 2015 and has garnered awards such as Reader’s Favorites Award, finalist in the Grace Awards, shortlisted for the Inspy Awards, and most recently a finalist in the ACFW Carol Awards. Her second historical novel, The Thorn Keeper, released in Feb 2016 and her first contemporary romance, A Twist of Faith, released in April 2016 with a 4 star review from Romantic Times. The third book in the Penned in Time series, The Thorn Healer, released in December 2017 with a 4 1/2 star review from RT and Top Pick rating.

Pepper’s first novella arrived in March as part of a Love at First Laugh novella compilation and her novel, Just the Way You Arereleased on April 6th – a fun-filled Britallachian romance! Both books are up for preorder on Amazon.

You can get to know Pepper on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram

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Just the Way You Are by Pepper Basham

just-the-way-you-are

Genre: Romance
Publisher: Woven Word Publishing
Publication Date: April 2017

Single mom Eisley Barrett has no room for romance. She’s learned the hard way that HEA (Happily Ever After) only exists in fiction or chocolate. When she travels to England in hopes of unearthing a centuries-old family mystery, the last thing she wants is to become entangled with the uptight, cynical actor who is as known for his movies as for his less-than-stellar past.

Wes Harrison would give anything for a clean slate, but some sins only God can forgive. Experience has taught him to be wary, especially of women, so when Eisley pops into his family’s life, he determines to expose her ulterior motives before she can hurt the ones he loves. However, her kind and straightforward personality soon win him over and Wes finds himself wishing for the second chance he hasn’t dared hope for.

Just the Way You Are can only be described as a large cup of hot chocolate topped with laughter and sprinkled with love. Pepper Basham infuses the pages with her unique humor and witty banter that keeps the reader in stitches all the while exploring the theme that God loves us just the way we are.

Eisley blurts out what most of us wish we had the guts to say or only come up with once the moment has passed. Anyone who has been afraid to love will relate to her, though she plunges in hastily. The Harrison family also warmed up to her extremely fast. While I believed it coming from Mr. H. (Wes’ father) who played matchmaker, Mrs. Harrison and Wes joined the bandwagon all too soon, especially given past experiences. Eisley’s family is downright comical and a pleasure to read. I really enjoyed the hint of mystery in the form of her ancestor’s story.

Without a doubt, Basham can write chemistry-laden kissing scenes that steal one’s breath. That being said, considering the characters aren’t married and that they both come from broken pasts, some of the scenes were too steamy and even unwise on the characters’ parts. I loved the concept of Wes being a new creation determined to pursue God’s ideal for us, but the hot and heavy kisses made me question just how far in the past were his womanizing ways. The same occurred with Eisley who didn’t want to repeat the same mistakes she made with her ex-husband but then moves too quickly and too far with Wes. Of course, being a book, everything works out.

 As usual, Basham does not disappoint in the settings department. Split between England and the Blue Ridge Mountains, I couldn’t get enough of the fascinating and beautiful cultures. While I haven’t been to North Carolina, I know what it’s like to be a European freshly landed in the U.S. I could relate (and chuckled multiple times) as Wes tackled his way into a new, and sometimes confusing, culture.

If you like romantic stories that make you laugh, you’ll want to grab a copy of Just the Way You Are. I am once again counting the days until Basham’s next book releases.

Review copy provided by the author. Thanks!

**Originally posted on Radiant Lit.

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Character Spotlight: Catherine West’s Tanner and Natalie

It’s only April, but I can safely say that Catherine West’s The Memory of You will be one of my favorite 2017 reads. The vivid setting, intriguing characters, and riveting story make this an unputdownable tale that burrs deep under the reader’s skin, sticking around long after the book ends. (See my review for more of my thoughts.) So step into wine country and let me introduce you to Natalie, Tanner, and the world of Maoilios.

The Story:

Thirteen years ago, Natalie lost a part of herself when her twin sister died. Will traveling back to the family winery finally put the memory to rest, or will it completely destroy her?

When Natalie Mitchell learns her beloved grandfather has had a heart attack, she’s forced to return to their family-owned winery in Sonoma, something she never intended to do. She’s avoided her grandparents’ sprawling home and all its memories since the summer her sister died—the awful summer Natalie’s nightmares began. But the winery is failing, and Natalie’s father wants her to shut it down. As the majority shareholder, she has the power to do so.

And Natalie never says no to her father.

Tanner Collins, the vintner on Maoilios, is trying to salvage a bad season and put the Mitchell family’s winery back in business. When Natalie Mitchell shows up, Tanner sees his future about to be crushed. Natalie intends to close the gates, unless he can convince her otherwise. But the Natalie he remembers from childhood is long gone, and he’s not so sure he likes the woman she’s become. Still, the haunted look she wears hints at secrets he wants to unearth. He soon discovers that on the night her sister died, the real Natalie died too. And Tanner must do whatever it takes to resurrect her.

But finding freedom from the past means facing it.

Meet Natalie:

Resembles: Blake Lively

Physical description: Blonde/brown hair, blue eyes, medium height, slim build.

Age: 26

Loves: Reading, movies, music (old tunes), history.

Hates: Meaningless television, wasting time, shallow people.

Favorite wine: Chardonnay.

Biggest struggle: Forgiving herself.

Background: Born and raised in New York, was a twin from birth to age 13, when her sister Nicole died in a tragic accident on Maoilios, Natalie’s grandfather’s vineyard in Sonoma, California. Natalie spent years trying to get over her sister’s death and adjusting to being an only child.

Work: Harvard Business school grad. Works for her father at Mitchell Enterprises.

Other: Because of the guilt she carries over her sister’s death, Natalie tries to please her parents all the time. She’s afraid of failing, of letting them down, and even when she disagrees with some things her father does, she’s always gone along, to keep the peace.

Meet Tanner:

Resembles: Tyler Hoechlin

Physical description: Brown hair, wavy, usually messy. Hazel eyes. Tall and muscular.

Age: 29

Loves/Interests: Family, wine-making, the land he lives and works on. Basketball. Reading.

Hates: People who can’t be trusted.

Favorite wine: Cabernet.

Biggest struggle: Forgiving his father for leaving him and his mom. Tanner also struggles with guilt over the accident his sister had, he believes he should have been there for her and wasn’t.

Background: Tanner’s parents divorced when he was a young boy and his sister left with his father. Tanner and his mom have lived on Maoilios since that time, and are like family to Hal Mitchell, Natalie’s grandfather. After an accident that left Tanner’s sister in a coma, Tanner is helping his mom raise his young niece and nephew.

Work: Tanner is the vintner on Maoilios. He loves his job and gets great satisfaction out of it.

Other: Tanner is devoted to his niece and nephew and will do anything to protect them. He’s also devoted to the winery, and will do whatever it takes to keep it up and running.

Explore the World of The Memory of You:

About the Author:

Catherine West is an award-winning author writing stories of hope and healing from her island home in Bermuda. Educated in Bermuda, England and Canada, Catherine holds a degree in English from the University of Toronto. When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or tending to her roses and orchids. She and her husband have two grown children. Catherine is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America, and is represented by Rachelle Gardner of Books & Such Literary Management. You can connect with Cathy via her website, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, or Twitter.

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