New Release Spotlight! Easy Summer Reading with TI Lowe’s Latest Driftwood Dreams

New Release Spotlight Driftwood Dreams

From the bestselling author of Lulu’s Café

Josie Slater has allowed the circumstances anchoring her in Sunset Cove to become a life sentence. Since her mother’s death years before, she’s spent most of her waking hours helping her dad run the Driftwood Diner. As her best friends, Opal and Sophia, make their dreams come true, Josie watches her own art school aspirations drift on by. But when a French-speaking Southern gentleman from her past moves back from Europe, Josie is launched into a tizzy of what-ifs and I-sure-do-hope-sos.

August Bradford left Sunset Cove six years ago to sow some life oats and conquer his ambitious career goals. Finally ready to lay down some roots, the successful artist is back in town and determined to win Josie’s heart. When he enlists Josie’s help in the preparations for a children’s art camp, Josie finds herself unleashing her artistic side in a way she hasn’t since before her mother’s death. August hopes to convince Josie to paint a life with him, but the problem is convincing her to let go of her apprehensions and give him―and her dreams―a fair chance.

Driftwood Dreams

 

Start reading now!

About the Author

TI Lowe, authorBestselling author T.I. Lowe sees herself as an ordinary country girl who loves to tell extraordinary stories. She knows she’s just getting started and has many more stories to tell. A wife and mother and active in her church community, she resides in coastal South Carolina with her family.

For a complete list of Lowe’s published books, biography, upcoming events, and other information, visit tilowe.com and be sure to check out her blog, COFFEE CUP, while you’re there!

Connect with TI Lowe

email: ti.lowe@yahoo.com

Website
Twitter
Facebook

Note: I am an Amazon Associate and may receive a small commission from book sales.

New Release Spotlight! Suzy Henderson Writes of Pre-WWII Paris in Madame Fiocca

img_4048

February 1933: Nancy Wake is a gregarious twenty-year-old looking for adventure. Having fled her unhappy family home in Sydney, she becomes a journalist and is thrilled when she is posted to Paris. The city is glamorous, brimming with journalists, artists, and a growing number of refugees.

Later, in the French Riviera, she uncovers more than news following a chance encounter with wealthy industrialist, Henri Fiocca. Their relationship blossoms as Hitler makes waves across Europe. While on an assignment in Vienna in 1938, she witnesses Nazis whipping Jews on the street and she vows to fight for justice if ever the opportunity arises.

51deXo0xERL._SY346_

When Henri is called to the Front to fight, Nancy, determined to help the war effort, joins the Red Cross as an ambulance driver. Every day she witnesses atrocities. When Paris falls, Nancy flees the German oppressors and returns to Marseille. France is a nation defeated; its people are in despair.

A chance encounter with a British officer draws Nancy into the heart of the Garrow escape network, despite Henri’s reservations. Armed with wealth and charm, she convinces Henri that the Germans will never suspect such a woman. But soon she finds herself caught up in a deadly game of espionage.

As the iron fist of the enemy tightens, neighbours denounce neighbours. No one can be trusted. When the enemy closes in, Nancy and Henri face an impossible choice. Has she done more harm than good?

Based on a true story of love and a gripping adventure, Madame Fiocca weaves an extraordinary tale of survival and redemption in wartime.

Excerpt

Picon raised his head, his nose twitching as he sniffed. I crouched down, ran my hand along his back, the hair wiry like a coconut skin, then unclipped his tan leather leash. The morning air, salty, fresh as a gentle breeze, blew in from the ocean, lifted my hair. He trotted by my side as we made our way across the beach, then I watched him gallop down to the water’s edge. The tide sailed out, then shushed back in, slipping over his white paws, and Picon yapped as he ran away from its hold, back to me. I giggled. Grainy sand clung to my toes, burning my soles and I wandered to the water’s edge. The next wave washed over my feet, lukewarm. I glanced down as squidgy sand shifted beneath my weight. A wave rolled in my head as I wavered.

After our walk, I found a table on the hotel terrace. In the distance, I glimpsed Marie in her white bathing suit as she waded into the ocean while Richard waved from waist-high depths, white crested waves crashing around them. As I waited for the waiter to bring my coffee and croissants, I noticed Henri Fiocca seated at a nearby table with a female companion. What a coincidence, or a sign, perhaps. He never did call, although I had been away many times on assignments. He was a womaniser, a playboy. Some men simply weren’t the settling down types.

Henri was tall, medium build with sultry hazel eyes. He oozed a certain charm, with suave and sophistication, and rarely ventured out without a glamorous woman on his arm. I had no idea of his age, but I guessed he was older than me, more likely closer to my elder brother, Stanley’s age. He glanced over and smiled. I smiled back and turned away. I had no idea how he managed to have a steady stream of girlfriends. Of course, I’d had my share of dates, but nothing serious. But as much as I hated to admit it, Henri Fiocca was an enigma, and the first man to rouse my curiosity.

***

We dined outside on the terrace at eight while the sun slipped from her celestial pedestal. Marie sat behind a hand-held oriental fan in shades of blue and pink, her face flushed, smothered in a sheen of perspiration. The day had been long and hot, but the evening dragged a refreshing, delicious breeze from the ocean, to fan my brow and cheeks. Dusk settled by the time we’d finished, and waiters stepped from table to table lighting tealight candles. The sapphire sky glittered with stars; a purple-pink band stretched tight across the horizon. Two violinists serenaded the diners, sweet, melodic notes swayed and scythed into the night, lulling me into a relaxed, almost sleepy state. Marie wore an elegant salmon pink silk dress with lemon flowers embroidered on the chest, her mahogany cigarette holder precisely poised within the fingers of her right hand. Her bright eyes serene, sharp, taking everything and everyone in, forever the huntress. Focussed and determined, ruthlessly uncovering stories and reporting the news, generally without emotional involvement, and sometimes I wished I was more like her. I couldn’t detach myself from suffering or injustice. Perhaps I should have considered a career in politics. At least then one can make a difference.

‘You look tired, Nancy,’ Richard said, a broad grin crinkling his eyes at the corners.

‘Tired? She has enough stamina for the three of us.’ Marie laughed. ‘Let’s go to the casino tonight.’

We’d spent the last two nights at the casino, which was probably the reason for my fatigue. Poor Picon was exhausted, and tonight I’d left him to sleep in my room.

‘Let’s dance.’ Richard took my hand and pulled me to my feet.

As he led me in a gentle waltz to the rhythm of violin music, a fizz of energy gushed through my veins, and I smiled as we took centre stage, dancing before the ocean, beneath the diamante twilight. Couples dined around us, their low murmur of chat a mere vibration. The present tune ended, and a new one began. The Tango. The dance of love. And I loved it. Richard was only slightly taller than me, the perfect partner, height-wise. As we sailed across the terrace, the hairs prickled at the nape of my neck, and then I saw him. Henri Fiocca, sat with his blonde companion from earlier, enjoying an aperitif, his gaze firmly fixed on us. I’m not sure why he caused me to feel so unsettled, but everything I did from then on made far more difference. My appearance, behaviour, everything mattered, and over the following week, I realised that I spent more time in front of the mirror, perfecting my hair, touching up my lipstick, deliberating over what to wear as a fluttering grew in my tummy like a kaleidoscope of butterflies.

Over the next few days, I swam, enjoyed meals with friends, and spent my evenings at the casino, occasionally bumping into Henri, watching in awe as he appeared with a different girl each time. And then one evening, as I strode into the hotel lounge looking for my friends, I found him alone at the bar nursing a brandy, looking vulnerable and brooding. He spun around and flashed that playful grin of his as soon as he saw me and, like a magnet, drew me in, my heart drumming the Marseillaise, beating my ribcage beneath my black silk evening dress. I smiled as we greeted one another in the French way, exotic spices and cedarwood wafting in the air; divine.

‘Bonjour, Noncee,’ he said, his voice like velvet. He put his glass down on the bar and took my hand. ‘It is a pleasure to meet you again.’

I gazed into his eyes, dumbstruck for a split second as my heart thumped against bone. ‘Bonjour.’ He hung onto my hand as if waiting for something. I swallowed.

Purchase Madame Fiocca Now

About the Author

img_1957-2I live with my family on the edge of the Lake District, an area that has always inspired me. After a career in healthcare, I studied creative writing and English at The Open University and fell in love with writing. Armed with a pen, a love of reading and a growing obsession with military and aviation history, I slipped seamlessly into writing historical fiction. 

Other interests include music, old movies, and photography – especially if WW2 aircraft are on the radar. I write contemporary and historical fiction. 

My debut novel, The Beauty Shop, has been awarded the B.R.A.G. Medallion.

Connect with Suzy Henderson

Madame Fiocca

The Beauty Shop

Website

Blog

Goodreads

Facebook

https://twitter.com/Suzy_Henderson

Note: I am an Amazon Associate and may receive a small commission from book sales.

New Release Spotlight! Kate Carlisle’s “The Grim Reader,” a Bibliophile Mystery

img_4048-3

Kate Carlisle is back with a new mystery!

Grim ReaderSan Francisco book-restoration expert Brooklyn Wainwright was hoping for a fun, relaxing weekend at a local book fair, but a murderer made other plans in the latest in this New York Times bestselling series.

Brooklyn and her new hunky husband, Derek, are excited to be guests at Dharma’s first annual Book Festival. The entire town is involved and Brooklyn’s mom Rebecca is taking charge. In addition to all of her other event related duties, she’s got Brooklyn doing rare book appraisals and is also staging Little Women, the musical to delight the festival goers. If that wasn’t enough, she and Meg, Derek’s mom, will have a booth where they read palms and conduct séances.

Brooklyn couldn’t be prouder of her mom’s do-it-all attitude so when a greedy local businessman who seems intent on destroying Dharma starts harassing Rebecca, Brooklyn is ready to take him down. Rebecca is able to hold her own with the nasty jerk until one of her fellow festival committee members is brutally murdered and the money for the festival seems to have vanished into thin air.

Things get even more personal when one of Brooklyn’s nearest and dearest is nearly run down in cold blood. Brooklyn and Derek go into attack mode and the pressure is on to catch a spineless killer before they find themselves skipping the festival for a funeral.

Purchase The Grim Reader Today

About the Author

Kate CarlisleNew York Times bestselling author Kate Carlisle is a native Californian who worked in television production for many years before turning to writing. It was a lifelong fascination with the art and craft of bookbinding that led her to write the Bibliophile Mysteries, featuring Brooklyn Wainwright, whose bookbinding and restoration skills invariably uncover old secrets, treachery and murder. Her first book, Homicide in Hardcover, debuted in February 2010, followed by If Books Could Kill, The Lies That Bind, Murder Under Cover, One Book in the Grave.

With the publication of A High-End Finish in November 2014, Kate launched the Fixer-Upper Mysteries featuring building contractor Shannon Hammer, who specializes in Victorian home renovation and repair. The series is set in Lighthouse Cove, a seemingly idyllic town with many dark secrets hiding under its floorboards. Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel is bringing the Fixer-Upper Mysteries to TV in a series of movies starring Jewel and Colin Ferguson. The first movie premiered in January 2017, the second less than three months later, with plans to film several more.

Kate is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers and Romance Writers of America. She is the proud recipient of the Golden Heart and Daphne du Maurier awards, and her first Bibliophile Mystery received a Best First Mystery nomination from RT Book Reviews. Kate loves to travel and read and drink good wine and watch other people cook.

Visit Kate online at www.KateCarlisle.com, where you’ll find a Secret Room filled with lots of bonus content, such as maps and character lists!)

Note: I am an Amazon Associate and may receive a small commission from book sales.

 

Christmas Countdown Book Blast! Keeping Christmas: A Sweet Western Romance by Shanna Hatfield

37 Christmas Reads to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

Welcome to my annual Christmas Countdown Book Blast! During the month of December, I indulge in reading my favorite fiction: Christmas stories! So for the entire month and for The Twelve Days of Christmas, December 25 through January 6th, I will post a new book each day to help get you in the holiday spirit.  This is a combination of New Release Spotlights and the Christmas Countdown Blitz hosted by the lovely ladies at Loving the Book.  In addition, I’m offering free downloads of my Christmas short story Ino’s Love in ebook and audio. To claim your digital copy visit the book’s download page here. For an audiobook copy send me an email at mariannesciucco@gmail.com indicating whether you want a US or UK download code. Either way, you’ll be subscribing to my monthly newsletter where I feature book news and giveaways. You’re free to unsubscribe at any time. Happy holiday reading!

Day 26, Book 26

 

51KrDqUj8hL._SY346_A promise made is a promise he’ll keep.

Even if it costs him the woman he loves. . .

Professional bareback rider Gage Taggart can almost taste the world championship title he’s spent all year pursuing. When an unexpected injury sidelines him, he heads to his best friend Trevor’s home to recuperate. Little by little, he finds himself completely smitten with Trevor’s beautiful sister. But he’s up against a formidable opponent: brotherly concern. Reluctantly, Gage vows to leave Tally alone to keep from breaking her heart when he heads back out on the road.

Tally King thrives on her work as a nurse, until she ends up caring for her injured brother and his best friend on the family ranch. Between the two stubborn men determined to prove how tough they and the unpredictable antics of her loony aunt Marvella, Tally feels like her life is spiraling out of control. Or maybe it’s due to falling head over heels in love with Gage despite concerns he’ll leave her heart in broken pieces.

An uplifting, sweet romance full of humor and hope, Keeping Christmas follows an unlikely couple as they discover the magic of Christmas and the wonder of true love.

Purchase Keeping Christmas Now

 

About the Author

shannaUSA Today Bestselling Author Shanna Hatfield writes character-driven romances with relatable heroes and heroines. Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.” Convinced everyone deserves a happy ending, this hopeless romantic is out to make it happen, one story at a time. When she isn’t writing or indulging in chocolate (dark and decadent, please), Shanna hangs out with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller. To learn more about Shanna or the books she writes, visit her blog http://shannahatfield.com or follow her on Facebook.

Note: I am an Amazon associate and may receive a small commission from book sales.

Christmas Countdown Book Blast! Let it Snow, A Nantucket Christmas Story from Nancy Thayer

37 Christmas Reads to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

Welcome to my annual Christmas Countdown Book Blast! During the month of December, I indulge in reading my favorite fiction: Christmas stories! So for the entire month and for The Twelve Days of Christmas, December 25 through January 6th, I will post a new book each day to help get you in the holiday spirit.  This is a combination of New Release Spotlights and the Christmas Countdown Blitz hosted by the lovely ladies at Loving the Book.  In addition, I’m offering free downloads of my Christmas short story Ino’s Love in ebook and audio. To claim your digital copy visit the book’s download page here. For an audiobook copy send me an email at mariannesciucco@gmail.com indicating whether you want a US or UK download code. Either way, you’ll be subscribing to my monthly newsletter where I feature book news and giveaways. You’re free to unsubscribe at any time. Happy holiday reading! 

Day 24, Book 24

51fY7zajlUL

A Nantucket shopkeeper discovers that Christmas is the perfect occasion to make unexpected friendships . . . to warm the coldest of hearts—and maybe even find love.

Christina Antonioni is preparing for the holidays at her Nantucket toy shop, unpacking last-minute shipments and decorating for her loyal Christmas shoppers. But when her Scrooge of a landlord, Oscar Bittlesman, raises her rent, it seems nearly impossible for Christina to continue business on the wharf.

Even so, Christina hopes there is a warm heart underneath Oscar’s steely exterior. When she bonds with Wink, his sweet, young granddaughter who frequents the shop, it becomes clear that perhaps he isn’t so cold after all. And with the help of Wink’s uncle, who happens to be a charming and very handsome bachelor, this may be the best Christmas any of them could have ever imagined. Nancy Thayer’s enchanting Nantucket setting provides the perfect backdrop for this holiday love story.

Purchase Let it Snow Now

About the Author

71MV4y-zt1L._US230_I grew up in Kansas, surrounded by prairie, but thirty-five years ago I came to Nantucket to visit a friend who introduced me to the love of my life. Charley and I have now lived on Nantucket for 33 years–year-round, as we say, so I have a special feeling for this island and for the people who come here. I love the island most in the winter when the waves crash dramatically on the shore.
I have a bachelor’s and master’s degree in English literature from the University of Missouri at Kansas City, and I still go to KC often to visit my darling baby sister, who inspires many of the characters in my book. Yes, she is blond, and yes, she is 9 years younger than I am. I still love her.  For a few years, I taught freshman English in several states, and had short stories published in literary reviews. My first novel, Stepping, was published by Doubleday in 1980, and started me off on the career I’ve always wanted. I was a Fellow at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in 1980 and in 2015, I received the RT Career Achievement Award. I’ve published 30 novels–all available on Amazon–including Secrets in Summer, The Island House, The Guest Cottage, Nantucket Sisters, and Island Girls, Surfside Sisters, and  A Nantucket Wedding.  When I’m not writing novels–all 30 are available on Amazon–I’m walking the beach with my husband or entertaining our 4 grandchildren & their parents & our friends. All my novels are about family and friendships, which I believe are the foundation of a happy, if complicated, life.

Connect with Nancy Thayer

Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

Note: I am an Amazon Associate and may receive a small commission from book sales.

 

Christmas Countdown Book Blast! “The Wedding Dress Christmas,” Holiday Romance by Rachel Haucko

37 Christmas Reads to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

Welcome to my annual Christmas Countdown Book Blast! During the month of December, I indulge in reading my favorite fiction: Christmas stories! So for the entire month and for The Twelve Days of Christmas, December 25 through January 6th, I will post a new book each day to help get you in the holiday spirit.  This is a combination of New Release Spotlights and the Christmas Countdown Blitz hosted by the lovely ladies at Loving the Book.  In addition, I’m offering free downloads of my Christmas short story Ino’s Love in ebook and audio. To claim your digital copy visit the book’s download page here. For an audiobook copy send me an email at mariannesciucco@gmail.com indicating whether you want a US or UK download code. Either way, you’ll be subscribing to my monthly newsletter where I feature book news and giveaways. You’re free to unsubscribe at any time. Happy holiday reading! 

Day 23, Book 23

91OoNC-QGxL.SR160,240_BG243,243,243December comes to quaint Hearts Bend, Tennessee, with a blanket of white and the glitter of Christmas lights.

For JoJo Castle there is no place like home. Her onetime love of adventure ended when her life in the big city came crashing down. Now that she’s home, she never wants to leave again.

Country music sensation Buck Mathews has charmed the world with his smile and his music. However, news of his mother’s illness brought him home to Hearts Bend for the holiday season.

Working with her cousin Haley in The Wedding Shop, JoJo has no aspirations of love. But when her high school crush returns to town, her buried feelings surface.

Busy with his career, Buck hasn’t had time for family and friends, much less love. Seeing JoJo in The Wedding Shop reminds him there are things more important than his career.

But JoJo and Buck have opposing life goals, and there’s no middle ground. Can love, especially the kind that touches hearts at Christmas, overcome her fears and his quest for greatness?

With the help of a very special wedding dress, there just might be a Christmas miracle.

Purchase The Wedding Dress Christmas Now

About the Author

B1qfn8q7zyS._US230_Rachel Hauck is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author. She is a Christy Award Winner and a double RITA finalist. Her book The Wedding Dress was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times Book Club. She is also the recipient of RT’s Career Achievement Award. A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, and a former sorority girl, Rachel and her husband live in central Florida. She is a huge Buckeyes football fan.

Connect with Rachel Hauck

Website

Facebook

Note: I am an Amazon Associate and may receive a small commission from book sales.

 

Christmas Countdown Book Blast! “Henry’s Holiday Charade: A Clean & Wholesome Christmas Romance” by Danielle Thorne

37 Christmas Reads to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

Welcome to my annual Christmas Countdown Book Blast! During the month of December, I indulge in reading my favorite fiction: Christmas stories! So for the entire month and for The Twelve Days of Christmas, December 25 through January 6th, I will post a new book each day to help get you in the holiday spirit.  This is a combination of New Release Spotlights and the Christmas Countdown Blitz hosted by the lovely ladies at Loving the Book.  In addition, I’m offering free downloads of my Christmas short story Ino’s Love in ebook and audio. To claim your digital copy visit the book’s download page here. For an audiobook copy send me an email at mariannesciucco@gmail.com indicating whether you want a US or UK download code. Either way, you’ll be subscribing to my monthly newsletter where I feature book news and giveaways. You’re free to unsubscribe at any time. Happy holiday reading! 

Day 22, Book 22

img_4423She has an emergency.

He needs a girlfriend.

Henry Caldecott is the reluctant heir to a successful hotel chain. Amanda Hill is trying to get through Christmas without any more debt. When they splash into each other at the chilly Cedarville Library pond, Henry sees the perfect opportunity to make a deal to survive the family Christmas party. All it takes is rescuing a chatty, hyper, damsel-in-distress, but Henry soon realizes Amanda is better than any debutante worthy of his snobby family’s acceptance, and that he’s the one in need of rescue. A romantic fairy tale-inspired Christmas novella perfect for a holiday weekend!

 

Purchase Henry’s Holiday Charade Now

About the Author

71kyDfJ7QxL._US230_.jpgDanielle Thorne is the author of classic romance and adventure in several genres. She loves Jane Austen, pirates, beaches, cookies, cats, dogs, and long naps. She does not like phone calls or sushi. A graduate of BYU-Idaho, Danielle saw early work published by Arts and Prose Magazine, Mississippi Crow, The Nantahala Review, StorySouth, and… you get the idea. Besides writing, she’s edited for both Solstice and Desert Breeze Publishing. Her growing blog, The Balanced Writer, focuses on writing, life, and the pursuit of peace and happiness. Currently, Danielle freelances as a non-fiction author while waiting to hear from readers like you through her website. During free time, which means when Netflix is down, she combs through feedback and offers virtual hugs for reviews. Her next historical romance is coming soon.

Connect with Danielle Thorne

Website ~Twitter ~ Facebook

Note: I am an Amazon Associate and may receive a small commission from book sales.

 

Christmas Countdown Book Blast! “The Christmas Cookie House: A Sweet Holiday Romance,” by Jennifer Griffith

37 Christmas Reads to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

Welcome to my annual Christmas Countdown Book Blast! During the month of December, I indulge in reading my favorite fiction: Christmas stories! So for the entire month and for The Twelve Days of Christmas, December 25 through January 6th, I will post a new book each day to help get you in the holiday spirit.  This is a combination of New Release Spotlights and the Christmas Countdown Blitz hosted by the lovely ladies at Loving the Book.  In addition, I’m offering free downloads of my Christmas short story Ino’s Love in ebook and audio. To claim your digital copy visit the book’s download page here. For an audiobook copy send me an email at mariannesciucco@gmail.com indicating whether you want a US or UK download code. Either way, you’ll be subscribing to my monthly newsletter where I feature book news and giveaways. You’re free to unsubscribe at any time. Happy holiday reading!

Day 21, Book 21

51H0IrrqXeL

Christmas, love, and a batch of cookies.

Former bookshop keeper Leela Miller is back in Massey Falls. Her mom passed away last spring, and she’s home taking care of her ailing father. Now, Leela is desperate to fill Mom’s shoes in the Ladies’ Auxiliary by chairing the Cookie House fundraiser. The hitch: mean-eyed Mrs. Coldicott refuses to host the event at her Society Row home as planned.

Leela must find a new venue big enough and fancy enough to draw in customers, or Mom’s event might get canceled. There’s only one perfect place: the Layton Mansion.

New vet school graduate Jay Wilson has been remodeling the Layton Mansion since he inherited it this summer. It’s almost Christmas, and the house is nearly ready to flip!

If he can get a good price for it, he can buy a partnership at a veterinary clinic out of town.

However, by stipulation of the will, Jay can’t sell the house until he cleans out the attic.

Jay needs help completing the enormous task before his deadline. The beautiful Leela will eagerly help—if he agrees to allow her to use the house for her event. But, when Jay learns that the Cookie House event is the same day as his sale deadline, will he sell the house out from under the girl he might just be falling in love with?

The Christmas Cookie House is Book 1 in the Christmas House Romance series by award-winning author Jennifer Griffith. Other books in the series include The Sleigh Bells Chalet and The Holiday Hunting Lodge. 

Purchase The Christmas Cookie House Now

About the Author

71BtGx5jubL._US230_Jennifer Griffith writes light, sweet romances she calls Cotton Candy for the Soul. Her Legally in Love Collection stems from the fact she fell in love with a handsome law school student who now serves as a judge–as well as her muse. She also writes the Billionaire Makeover Romance series, billionaires and makeovers being some things with which she has less experience.

Jennifer loves old cars, landscape paintings, fresh bread with raspberry jam, and reading. She lived in Japan during college, where she once ate a cricket on a dare. She also traveled through Europe, where she slept a night in a castle on the Rhine. Jennifer worked summers in a cookie factory, and she spent a few years working for the U.S. Congress before becoming a wife, a mom and an author.

Connect with Jennifer Griffith

Website ~ FacebookTwitter ~ Goodreads

Note: I am an Amazon Associate and may receive a small commission from book sales.

 

Christmas Countdown Book Blast! “The Lost Shepherd,” Christian Historical Fiction by Michael I. Judson

37 Christmas Reads to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

Welcome to my annual Christmas Countdown Book Blast! During the month of December, I indulge in reading my favorite fiction: Christmas stories! So for the entire month and for The Twelve Days of Christmas, December 25 through January 6th, I will post a new book each day to help get you in the holiday spirit.  This is a combination of New Release Spotlights and the Christmas Countdown Blitz hosted by the lovely ladies at Loving the Book.  In addition, I’m offering free downloads of my Christmas short story Ino’s Love in ebook and audio. To claim your digital copy visit the book’s download page here. For an audiobook copy send me an email at mariannesciucco@gmail.com indicating whether you want a US or UK download code. Either way, you’ll be subscribing to my monthly newsletter where I feature book news and giveaways. You’re free to unsubscribe at any time. Happy holiday reading! 

Day 18, Book 18

Lost SHepherJust who were the shepherds that were singled out from among earth’s inhabitants to hear the angelic announcement of Christ’s birth? What made them so special, or what uniquely qualified them to be His first witnesses? The Bible tells us very little about them. Now there is an answer!

Eleazar grows up awash in a culture of shepherding, but not among ordinary sheep. No, the flocks he and his companions tend are destined for sacrifice on the altar of the great temple at Jerusalem. Like his fathers before him, his life’s work fuels the faith of a nation that tirelessly awaits the signs of their long-foretold Messiah. But unforeseen circumstances lead Eleazar away from his purposeful existence and onto a path of doubt and life-altering decisions that threaten to destroy both his faith and his future. Only the miraculous power of the Christ Child can reclaim him and restore to him to a life of hope and peace—and to an understanding of his importance as a shepherd in Israel.

Lost Shepherd is a tale of real hope and redemption, of faith lost and reclaimed. Let the story transport you back in time as you discover anew the timeless healing power found only in the Savior Jesus Christ.

Excerpt

Arriving at the half-way point at the junction with the road to Bethany, the shepherds turned the sheep into a pasture by a small stream. By this time the sheep were beginning to tire and, for many, the call of the tender spring grasses was too much of a distraction for their hungry stomachs. As they began to graze, the shepherds each sought a comfortable resting spot, preferably under the shade of a low-hanging tree.

This was hardly the first time the shepherds had taken this excursion, and Benjamin and the others had anticipated the need for this rest stop. But their lack of progress was more than a little surprising and they found themselves questioning whether they would be able to complete the Jerusalem leg of their journey before the temple closed and those who would receive the sheep had gone to their homes for the evening.

As the sheep foraged for a meal, the shepherds sat themselves down to enjoy whatever foodstuffs they had packed. Eleazar’s mother had anticipated her son’s need and assembled for him a hearty meal of cold chicken and goat cheese, with dried figs. He downed the food without so much as a thought of his mother’s kindness, so absorbed was he contemplating what he assumed lay ahead for himself.

In his anxious mind he envisioned this, what he believed would be his last shepherding trip to Jerusalem, as the final exclamation mark on his short career, and the opening chapter on his new life of freedom and fulfillment. Ostensibly he was doing it for his mother, but had he been more honest with himself, he would have been forced to admit the truth that this was at least equally about satisfying his own desires.

Finishing the last bite of his meal, he rose from his resting spot to survey his surroundings. The sheep were feeding peacefully and the dogs were resting beside the other shepherds, who themselves were reclined and enjoying a brief nap. Looking back toward the highway, Eleazar could see a herd of about ten camels moving toward Jerusalem. Two drivers on camels, one at the front of the herd and the other at the rear, were the only keepers of the notoriously unruly creatures. Each camel wore a braided collar with a brass ring. A rope was strung between the rings and attached at either end to the drivers’ camels, which seemed to maintain perfect order in the procession. Approaching the shepherds’ position, Eleazar was fascinated at how a single command from the leader brought the entire herd, in near-perfect unison, off the highway and onto the path leading to the shepherds’ resting place.

Approaching Eleazar, the only shepherd who wasn’t napping, the lead driver asked, “May I assume that there is water in this place?”

“Yes,” Eleazar replied, pointing. “There’s a small stream just past that stand of trees.”

“May I also assume then that this stream can be used to water my camels?”

“Sure,” Eleazar responded, “take all you want. But I thought camels didn’t need much water.”

“Oh, they need as much as any animal, it’s just that they can store it up so that they don’t need to drink as often as your other beasts of burden. It’s been three days since our last watering and I’d like these animals to get their fill before we get into the confusion of Jerusalem. Camels are ornery enough even when they’re not thirsty. Watering them now will eliminate at least one potential distraction when we arrive.”

“Well, help yourself then. I’ll move the sheep back to make room.”

“I appreciate your kindness, sir,” the camel driver said as his camel kneeled, allowing him to dismount. It was the first time Eleazar had ever been addressed so formally and he rather enjoyed the feeling.

The driver then removed the rope to free the animals. The camels needed no further invitation to partake. In their haste they overtook Eleazar, beating him to the stream and effectively driving off the sheep themselves. The large beasts were generally unfamiliar to the sheep and, being intimidated, the smaller animals willingly retreated to a place several paces away from the stream. The camels were soon wading into the stream for their fill of the cool water.

“Well, it looks like your camels have done my job for me,” said Eleazar, a bit surprised at the rather orderly exchange between the sheep and camels.

“I’m afraid they are generally used to getting their way,” the driver admitted, as he stepped lightly from his kneeling animal. “It’s one trait of the species that breeding doesn’t seem to effect. What I wouldn’t give to have a camel that was docile and obedient like your sheep.”

“Would you also have it be stupid and helpless like a sheep?” Eleazar asked sarcastically.

“Well, I’m no expert on sheep, but I perceive them not as stupid and helpless, but as humble and meek, easy to be entreated. They seek peace, whereas my camels are arrogant and argumentative, always looking for a way to assert their dominance.”

“The sheep are meek,” Eleazar admitted, “but I think it’s just a reflection of their big, empty heads.”

Approaching the shepherd, the camel driver chuckled, extended his hand and said, “My name is Asher.”

Returning the gesture, Eleazar gripped his hand and said, “I’m Eleazar.”

Just then the rear driver approached and held out his hand. “Shalom. I’m Ishmael,” he said. “You have some fine-looking sheep there.”

“Only the best will do for the temple,” Eleazar responded, sarcastically.

Ignoring Eleazar’s apparent cynicism, Ishmael remarked with surprise and respect, “Do you mean that you and your companions are the shepherds who raise sheep for temple sacrifice? I am so honored to meet you!”

“Don’t be,” Eleazar remarked. “We’re nothing but lowly shepherds.”

“Oh but that can’t be true,” Ishmael replied. “You are the honored ones who guard The Lord’s flock.”

“Yes,” Eleazar replied incredulously, hoping to swiftly end this nonsense. “We are the shepherds who watch ‘The Lord’s sheep,’ from the moment of their birth making sure nothing bad happens to them, keeping them pure and protected, coddling and cuddling them their whole lives and delivering them safe and sound to the temple…so that men with sharp knives can slit their throats.” Eleazar, looking his questioner straight in the eyes, concluded his speech with a wry smile.

“Well,” Ishmael responded, sheepishly, looking alternately between the ground and Asher’s understanding face, “it sounds like, uh, well, maybe you have some rather well-formed opinions on the matter. Uh…thank you, yes, thank you for sharing them.”

With that he turned and walked toward the stream to look after the camels.

“My friend,” Asher said, trying to soften the situation, “you must forgive my partner. He is a very devout man who holds rather strong views of his faith. Sometimes he forgets that not all Jews share his zeal.”

Recognizing how caustic his response must have sounded to one so faithful, Eleazar hung his head and said, “I understand. I once was like your friend. I should be more careful about others’ feelings.”

Encouraged, Asher added, “I hope you know that your work truly does matter. Me, I drive camels to market where I haggle with potential buyers all day. In the end, I may be a little richer and the merchant may have a new camel, but that is where the blessing ends. Nothing of lasting value comes of it for either of us. But you, though you seldom see the ultimate result of your work, you provide a service that blesses lives. Your efforts bring satisfaction and peace to hearts that need mending. True, it is all symbolic, but symbols are powerful motivators for they speak of a reality that cannot be seen. You and your companions—you bring that reality to life.”

Humbled, Eleazar could only thank Asher for his thoughts and wish him well on his journey. By this time, Ishmael had the camels roped together again and was preparing to mount his own animal. Asher gave the command for his camel to kneel at which point he swung his leg over the animal’s shaggy back, then ordered the beast to rise. The camel let out a barking groan as it stood, dust falling from its hairy coat.

As the caravan slowly made its way back onto the highway, Asher waved and called to Eleazar, “God be with you, temple shepherd! Shalom!”

“Yes, shalom,” Eleazar whispered, as he waved to the departing men.

About the Author

“Who were THOSE shepherds, and why were they so favored?” That one question stirred the imagination of author Michael I. Judson and led to the creation of Lost Shepherd, the fictional backstory of the first witnesses to the birth of the precious Babe of Bethlehem. After you read Lost Shepherd, watch for his answers to other compelling questions (his next books!)

When he’s not writing, he has a large family to love, gardens to grow, fun places to see, ancestors to discover, and even chickens to raise! He also has a full-time job that occupies the bulk of his waking hours. Though still a few years off, retirement beckons with aspirations of writing (with all the fun imagining and discovery that goes with it) becoming his full-time pursuit.

Connect with Michael Judson

~ Facebook

To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our   Official Event page Part 2 

 

Note: I am an Amazon Associate and may receive a small commission from book sales.

 

 

Christmas Countdown Book Blast! “The Gift of a Child,” Holiday Fiction by Donna K. Weaver

37 Christmas Reads to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

Welcome to my annual Christmas Countdown Book Blast! During the month of December, I indulge in reading my favorite fiction: Christmas stories! So for the entire month and for The Twelve Days of Christmas, December 25 through January 6th, I will post a new book each day to help get you in the holiday spirit.  This is a combination of New Release Spotlights and the Christmas Countdown Blitz hosted by the lovely ladies at Loving the Book.  In addition, I’m offering free downloads of my Christmas short story Ino’s Love in ebook and audio. To claim your digital copy visit the book’s download page here. For an audiobook copy send me an email at mariannesciucco@gmail.com indicating whether you want a US or UK download code. Either way, you’ll be subscribing to my monthly newsletter where I feature book news and giveaways. You’re free to unsubscribe at any time. Happy holiday reading! 

Day 19, Book 19

The Gift of a child

 

Recently widowed Rae Cavanaugh just survived the worst birthday of her life. She and her two young children must now face a holiday season filled with so many reminders of what they’ve lost. But when a coworker who’s raising his young nephew moves next door, Rae discovers that the support of a good friend, and the gift of a child, can bring back some of the joy of the season.

*A Novelette*

Excerpt

“Text me when you’re done.” Rae turned with the stroller, but Dylan put his hand over hers on the handle.

“Isn’t Beth going to get her picture taken too?” he asked.

“She’s too young. He’ll scare her.”

“Not if she’s with the Littles. Come on. Do you really want to have a picture of Preston but not one of Beth?”

“Well . . .” Rae hadn’t considered that.

“When she’s sixteen, she’ll want to know why you have a picture of Preston with Santa and not one of her.” He arched a brow, his head tilted. “She’ll play the you love him more than me card.”

Rae frowned, but he had a point.

“Baby, do you want to go with Preston?” When Beth nodded, Rae heaved out a breath and stepped back so Dylan could take hold of the stroller.

“Okay, guys, each of you put a hand over mine.” They did, and the four of them strode toward the Santa Claus line.

Rae’s eyes prickled. That man had been Heaven-sent. She’d worried how she could ever fill the hole that Mike’s death had left in her children’s lives, and then Dylan had shown up.

Purchase The Gift of a Child Now ~ Universal Amazon Link

About Donna K. Weaver

Award-winning author, wife, mother, grandmother, Harry Potter geek, Army veteran, karate black belt, and online gamer girl.

Connect with the Author

~ Facebook ~ WebsiteAmazon ~

To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our   Official Event page Part 2

Enter our Rafflecopter giveaway

Note: I am an Amazon Associate and may receive a small commission from book sales.