Thursday, November 23, 2017

Short Review ~ Charming the Troublemaker by Pepper Basham

About the Book

When Dr. Alex Murdock is demoted to a university in rural Virginia, the last thing he expects to find is a future. But country charm never looked as good as it did on Rainey Mitchell.

Rainey Mitchell does not need a high-class flirt in her wounded world, but trouble and temptation wafts off the new professor as strong as his sandalwood-scented cologne. When circumstances thrust them together to save her tutoring clinic, can the troublemaker find the hero inside and encourage the reticent Rainey to open her heart again?

My Review
5 STARS!!!

What can I say?! I love, Love, LOVE this story!!! It was such fun to read. Pepper always writes stories with a deep thread of faith woven into the plot but it's her absolutely solid and over-the-top characters that hold my attention. She is a master in the drama department and CTT has no shortage to keep a reader glued to the pages. I can't wait until the next book in 2018! The author gave me an e-copy of this book but did not require a review. No compensation has been received.

Enter to win an e-book of Charming the Troublemaker here.

~Happy Thanksgiving~

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Interview with Pepper Basham + Giveaway ~ Charming the Troublemaker (e-book)

Hey Y’all! I am delighted to share my most recent interview with Pepper Basham, author of ‘Britallachian romance peppered with grace and humor.’ Pepper has a new book out, Charming the Troublemaker. It’s another sigh worthy winner with a swoony hero! AND….if you read to the end and leave a comment, you might win an e-book!
Welcome back to Stuff & Nonsense, Pepper!
Anne, as always, it’s such a pleasure to spend time with you today. Thank you for the opportunity to share about stories and favorites and all those sorts of things.
Tell us a little about yourself and your writing journey.
Well, I’ve been writing ever since I learned how. In fact, I still have my first ‘chapter book’ I wrote (and POORLY illustrated) when I was 10 years old and my first mystery book I wrote when I was 12. Words, writing, and storytelling have been a constant part of my life, as present as faith and family. I suppose that’s why they always seem to go together in my story-creating process 😊
After YEARS of pursing publication, my first novel was published with Vinspire Publishing in May 2015. From that point on, I’ve had opportunity to publish 5 more full-length novels and one novella. It’s been a VERY busy journey!!
Wow!!! That’s a lot of books in just two years. I’m so glad you’re on a roll! And here is Pepper's youngest holding a story Pepper wrote when she was a youngster. 

What do you think makes a good story?
Oh goodness! There are various ways to make a good story, but I think the BEST is through memorable characters. I know there’s this fun writing dialogue going on about which is more important, plot or characters, in creating good stories, and though they are BOTH powerful tools for storytelling, I think characters are USUALLY the best option for story-strength. If you can have BOTH, then that’s even better.
I have to agree on that one. I recently read a story that had a good plot but the characters…dull and boring. :(
Do you have a favorite book? What about it makes it stand out from others?
Actually, I DO have a favorite (but I’m also editing another one that might become a favorite too), but the hero in my just-released novel, Charming the Troublemaker, might be one of my favorite heroes I’ve ever written!! As far as STORY, my contemporary romcom, Just the Way You Are, is one I love to go back and reread. I love the humor, the romance, the setting, the mystery…yep! Everything I enjoy best in a book I tossed into that one! British hero, clumsy American single-mom, Scooby-Doo references, 500-year old towers, a sweet and crazy family, adorable kids…yep!! FAV!!
Oh yes!!!  Just the Way You Are is de-lish! As my momma used to say. :-)
What’s the one food item you can’t live without?
ACK! Only one??? That’s like asking me who my favorite child is!?! 😉 Chicken! I love chicken. And chocolate (not together, btw).
Two of my favorites! Especially chocolate. :)
Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night and just have to get up and write down a thought? If so, do you keep a tablet on your bedside table or go to the computer?
I keep a tablet by the bed but RARELY (read really NEVER) use it in the middle of the night. Sleep is WAAAYYYY too important to me 😉
Haha! I like sleep but at my age, I do wake up a lot in the middle of the night.
Do you talk to your characters? Keep story boards? Pictures? 
I definitely talk to them and have pictures of the characters, setting, buildings. I don’t really keep a storyboard but I do map out my towns. I do a whole lot of daydreaming.
Um. Your stories cause all of us to do a whole lot of daydreaming. 😉
Can you give us a glimpse into your next book or story idea?
Let me tease you with two!
I have an upcoming historical and an upcoming contemporary.
The historical romance set in WW1 Appalachia. It has a Christy spin but is actually based on some of my own personal family history. City boy teacher comes to Appalachia and lives change 😊
I plan to have the second Pleasant Gap novel arrive in 2018 too. It’s about two introverts, which is a new thing for me, but there’s humor, heart, family, and a historical mystery thread like its predecessor.
I also have two novellas coming out in 2018 as part of compilations – one historical and one contemporary, so you can keep your eyes open for those too 😊
2018 is looking better already!
Have you traveled to locations that your books are set in? Where is the one place you would love to set a book but know you cannot possibly go there? Would you write it anyway?
I have been to England – where my Penned in Time series and Just the Way You Are are partially set. I’d gladly go back ANY time. LOVE Britain. I’m not really sure of a place I wouldn’t write about just because I haven’t visited there. I have a few fantasy book ideas and the only way to get there is in my mind 😉
Point taken!
Since you write swoon-worthy romance, what is the most romantic thing your husband has done for you? Only if you can share ;)
Hee hee, well, on a little scale…I’m a BIG fan of hugs. He’s not a hugger, but he works REALLY hard to give me hugs on a regular basis because he knows I’m super-affectionate (and love hugs…kisses too). As far as grander things, sacrificing time and money to take me on my first trip to England 10 years ago was pretty romantic (as in REALLY romantic).
That is so sweet! Sounds like you found a keeper. 
Where can you be found on the internet?
I LOVE interacting with my readers!! You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and on my website.
Thanks again, Pepper, for indulging my curiosity about the writer life.

GIVEAWAY INFO - Pay attention!!! :-)
You’ll need to be a GFC follower in order to be entered for the giveaway because I am ditching the email sign up through Feedburner. Technical difficulties with the backend of the program are causing hundreds of spammy email followers. Until I find another way to have email sign ups, PLEASE follow thru GFC. I've announced this a couple of times. If you want to continue to get updates about giveaways etc, you'll have to switch. Sorry! 
Pepper is offering an e-book copy of Charming the Troublemaker to one of my followers. Since Pepper writes both contemporary and historical, leave a comment letting us know which genre you enjoy best, along with your email address in a non-spam format like this -- jane(at)doe(dot)net -- in order to be entered. Giveaway ends Nov 27th

Friday, November 17, 2017

Review ~ Colors of Christmas by Olivia Newport

Celebrate the joyful hope of the Christmas season as characters find healing in the midst of heartbreak.
New from Olivia Newport!

Christmas in Blue
In the wake of a personal loss deeper than anyone realizes, Angela plans to bypass as much of the season as possible and get through her duties as the church organist by going on autopilot. Instead, she finds herself in charge of the town’s celebration. After a mysterious young man arrives, townspeople suspect he is the reason that one set of plans after another disintegrate until little is left of their traditions. Yet Angela warms to Gabe because she suspects they share a secret—his real reason for coming to town. Even when all they have to work with is a garish supply of blue Christmas decorations, Gabe helps Angela discover the hidden beauty of hope.

Christmas in Gold
After eighty years, change is nothing new for Astrid. By the time she was twenty, she survived the destructive Nazi regime, caring for her family under brutal circumstances, moving to America, and losing her husband. At forty she was widowed again and left to build a new life with her children. Now, when she faces a move into an assisted living community and meets a young woman on the brink of despair, she resolves to stir up hope through tragedy one more time.

My Review
3.5 Stars

In Colors of Christmas, you get two novellas that, while considered heartwarming, are not your typical feel good Christmas stories. I enjoyed the first novella, Christmas in Gold, and was enthralled with Astrid’s wartime flashbacks. Her life has taken a huge turn and now she must learn to ‘be happy’ in her present situation. She drew much sympathy from me in the missing ornament debacle and I could easily feel her pain at the loss. Some of us need that small tangible reminder of a time past and it was sweet how it turned out. The relationship she carefully cultivated with her physical therapist was another aspect I truly enjoyed; probably because it was a bit mysterious. Hope and redemption were woven beautifully throughout this story.

Christmas in Blue, I struggled through this one. I did not connect with the Angela. I felt the pacing was too slow but I am glad I finished the story. The redeeming part was near the end. The power has gone out in the church during the town’s annual A Christmas to Remember service and the pastor says “This darkness is not what we expected,” Martin said. “Many of you hold candles that we planned to light for a fleeting few moments of our service tonight. Instead darkness fell around us.”…”While I am not always successful,” Martin said, “the lesson I learn over and over is to receive even what disappoints as a gift that can enrich me in some way. In these minutes that tick toward midnight, and as we sit in darkness before we light our candles, what is enriching you? Let me challenge you to set your phones down and let the lights turn off. Don’t be afraid of a few minutes of darkness and quiet, for there you may find God’s surprising presence.”

Now that I can relate to! Life is full of disappointments and I am learning not to be afraid of the changes they bring about. To look for the enrichment God is bringing into my life. I’m putting down the electronics, sitting in the quiet darkness and soaking in the presence of God.

I encourage you that if you delight in reading wholesome, endearing stories go ahead and get a copy of this book. We all have our own opinions and mine is just one of many. I pray you are encouraged and uplifted by the theme of hope and redemption that only Christ brings to a lost world that is presented in these two stories.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

~Happy Reading, Y’all~