{giveaway} Can’t Help FALLing celebration

There are so many fall reads I can’t wait to get my hands on! I will share those after I turn my own book in, but I wanted to share the love about one I’ve ALREADY read:

It’s no secret how much I loved Kara Isaac’s debut novel, Close to You, but the follow-up story coming October 11 is special and enchanting in its own way. Goodness, I loved Can’t Help Falling so much with its mixture of characters dealing with hard pasts, sizzling romantic chemistry, Kara’s signature humor, redemption, and of course, all the nods to Narnia.


Ahem, it was also a 4.5-star TOP PICK by RT Book Reviews, which is a HUGE deal in the book world. So I promise I’m not just biased as her critique partner 🙂


To celebrate, I’m giving away a copy of Kara Isaac’s first book, Close to You, in which a disgraced scholar running from her past and an entrepreneur chasing his future find themselves thrown together—and fall in love—on a Tolkien tour of New Zealand. I’ll also throw in a $15 Amazon gift card you can use for all of your anticipated fall reads. Simply fill out the Rafflecopter below before October 1.

Good luck, and seriously, if you haven’t discovered Kara Isaac, be sure to add these books to brighten up your fall and winter reading list! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

summer book recommendations

Book Recommendations

My proverbial nightstand is ridiculously stacked. After a few years of minimal reading, I’ve been bitten by the bug with no regrets! There are SO many good books that have come out lately that this just scratches the surface.

Now that I’m out of my editing cave, I will be sharing more recommendations with my fellow book nerds. 🙂 Since it’s what I write, I read a lot of inspirational titles and want to spread awareness that there are some top-notch reads in that industry. I primarily go with contemporary romance, a little YA, and a touch of fantasy, but most of everything is fair game here — inspirational and general market — so don’t be surprised if you find a few curveballs.

As a busy working wife-mama-writer, you know I don’t have time to read anything except that which captivates me until the very end! So, if you need something good this summer, look no further than this variety of titles:

My Sister’s Book!!!

I know it LOOKS like I’m biased, but trust me on this one. If you follow me on social media, you’ve heard me talk about how proud I am of Kara and Close to You! Her stunning romantic comedy debut fuses moments of laugh-out-loud humor with poignant plotlines set in the unique New Zealand backdrop of the Lord of the Rings movie set. I would recommend this book not only to those who love all things Middle Earth, but to anyone who loves a heartwarming love story and characters so fun and real that you can’t help but root for them!

Something Thrilling

When I saw Laura McNeill had a new book, I was immediately intrigued — especially when I saw her background in journalism. Her work is different than her publisher’s usual (Thomas Nelson), and Sister Dear is no exception. A woman’s just been released from prison after being wrongfully accused, hoping to reconnect with her family and the daughter she barely knows after years of lost time. A murder mystery, broken family, twisted small town dynamic, and characters harboring chilling secrets make for a page-turning psychological read. The author deftly maneuvers multiple points of view that will keep readers on their toes for sure!

For Curiosity’s Sake

When the latest contemporary romance from Melissa Tagg, Like Never Before, released, you’d better believe I packed up my little cub for a trip to the bookstore! Why was I so eager to get my hands on it? Because the author has been raving about her hero in this inspirational contemporary romance on social media, so you’d better believe I was curious. With a premise that includes single dad, reporter heroine, and failing small-town newspaper, how can you go wrong?

Something Sherlockian

The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder by Rachel McMillan: If you love Sherlock Holmes — or just adventure and clever writing in a historical setting —  you’ll love the Herringford and Watts Mysteries. The story takes place in 1910, where our heroines Jem and Merinda are sleuthing in the streets of Toronto instead of behaving and preparing for marriage like most girls their age. Readers will love being a third wheel to their adventures — and want Merinda to be a “bad influence” on them, too — as they become embroiled in solving murders with these strong female characters. McMillan lends a strong voice laced with humor and intrigue in this unique, incredibly intelligent addition to the inspirational fiction market.


Something Anticipated

If you know anything about my reading tastes, you know I’m a huge fan of Becky Wade! Her One and Only is filled with romance, a touch of suspense, and satisfying closure for a beloved fictional family. I love the interesting way the author spun the dynamic between bodyguard/protective agent Dru and the NFL superstar she’s protecting, Gray, and the unique voice this story had in the scope of one of my favorite series.

(If you’re new to Becky Wade, start with My Stubborn Heart or the first in the Porter Family Series, Undeniably Yours.)

Short and Sweet

The books in the Love Inspired line are about 60-75% the length of the average inspirational romance novel, making them perfect for a beach/pool day, flight, or rainy weekend! But Jill Lynn’s Her Texas Family is definitely heavy on good, clean romance. Set in a small Texas town, it tells the story of Lucy, who immediately clashes with the widower doctor who hires her, Graham — but makes an instant connection with his daughter. Lucy’s fun-loving nature brings much-needed joy to their lives, but meddling forces that try to keep them apart make for intriguing conflict in this well-written novel.

Do any of these sound intriguing to you? What are you reading right now?

{friday mixing bowl} a mixing bowl of loveliness


In the middle of wiping stuffy allergy noses, there was a lot of lovely this week with a pinch of fancy.


It was our anniversary! So hard to believe this was eight whole years ago. Isn’t that church gorgeous??


We got all fancied up and went out to a nice dinner. Our photobombers weren’t too sure what was going on, but they got to have a fun pizza party with their Aunt Bethany! (Thanks, Bethany!)


I went bold and brave with a pink lipstick, which is so not like me. But I kind of like the extra touch of fancy! And I love that my husband makes me feel just as beautiful when I change back into my topknot and yoga pants at the end of the night 🙂


We went to my favorite place, where I was on the hunt for an early copy of my critique partner’s awesome new romantic comedy, Close to You. (Pre-order it now because it comes out on Tuesday!) We didn’t find an early copy of it, but I did find cover inspiration for the manuscript I’m currently editing — LOOK at that typesetting! <3 Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this… #sorrynotsorry


The rest of the week was business as usual. The most gratifying kind of hustle.


…while others didn’t exactly pull their own weight.


Real life: this is what my sink looked like after a few home-cooked meals (opposed to the 23938293 nights of takeout) and enjoying gorgeous spring evening walks with my family instead of doing dishes. Totally. Worth. It. Plus, it gave me a good excuse to listen to my podcasts while I washed!


This week reminded me how important it is to treasure quality time — not multitasking, but being totally present. Like dating my husband, picking out fresh strawberries from the farmers market with my girl, and having a raspberry blowing competition with my little cub.


But what week can go wrong when it starts off like THIS?

<< link love >>

  • One of my favorite new podcasts is The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey. This week, she hosted Shelley Giglio in what was the last straw in a common theme for this week: confirmation that I’m supposed to act on a dream God put on my heart 10+ years ago in college! (More on that later.) My favorite part was when Shelley talked about how her focus is on encouraging people to believe they can do the work God has called them to do. Their talk was fun and real and inspiring!
  • Jenny Bravo of Blots & Plots totally did it again with this comprehensive guide to social media! If you’ve ever wondered what role each social media platform should play and which content should go where, then get there now!
  • God has chosen YOU — not someone else.” Ohhhhh, Bob Goff. The man is smart. “God can use anyone, for sure. If you can shred on a Fender or won Best Personality, you’re not disqualified—it just doesn’t make you more qualified. You see, God usually chooses ordinary people like us to get things done.

<< in case you missed it >>

Happy weekend, y’all! Tomorrow I head to OKC for a mini-conference headlined by Allen Arnold. What are your plans?