Sweet Romance and Pink Apples

I’m so excited to announce that Ten Reasons Not to Date a Cop is back! It’s up for sale in the kindle store and will be available in all e-markets as well as print very shortly! (Hopefully by the end of the week, if not before.) Yes, it’s back and it has a brand-new look. And a brand new ‘apple rating.’

But first the cover. Drum roll please…

I love this new look! I wanted something sweet and kind of soft to represent this new endeavor. I think this one has all that and more!

Okay, Pink Apples…

What do pink apples stand for? My ‘new’ heat level I’m calling sweet-ish romance.

When members of the industry—authors, editors, and agents—talk about a sweet romance, they’re referring to love scenes. Or lack of them. Sweet romances by definition have no ‘on the page’ sex. There might be implied relations, but these happen behind ‘closed doors.’ (Take ‘sweet as apple pie’ out of the equation. That’s referencing my style and tone.)

When I first started writing romance, I wrote love scenes into the books. Those were the kind I read so they were the kind I wrote as well. I’ll not tell you that writing a love scene is comfortable. But this was all I knew and if I wanted to write romance, I would have to get over my hesitation and write the scenes. For me that meant making the scenes necessary. Necessary in they had to be emotional, move the plot forward, and enhance the overall story.

Then I started writing Amish and inspirational stories and the two different kinds of books didn’t quite go together. What to do? My new style didn’t contain love scenes and I had firmly entrenched them into my previous books. In trying to find a solution, ‘sweetish’ romance was born. (Remember how God told me to be brave? I struggled with what He meant by that. Did He mean be brave and continue what you are doing? Or be brave and take a chance? I think He meant take a chance.)

Sweet-ish romance is a delicate balance. There are parts that could be classified as love scenes, but they are emotionally strong and physically vague. They are not a play by play of what happens between a man and a woman in private, rather a small nudge to let the reader know what’s happening without going into every detail.

Also language. Yes, there are a few curse words in my sweet-ish romances, but I was careful not to take them too far. (No f-bombs here.) Nor did I want my characters to take the Lord’s name in vain. I took out these references and replaced them with something less offensive.

I can’t say that ‘sweet-ish’ is the right heat level for every reader. There are some who will prefer the strong love scenes and some who will wish they had been removed altogether. But for the middle-of-the-roader, I believe you will find something here you’ll like.

There will still be other heat levels in my line-up. Amish and inspirational will continue to be Green Apples. Sweet romances will go on being represented by Yellow Apples. Red Apples will indicate books that do contain bedroom scenes, though I will express again, these are nowhere as sexy as today’s typical romance. (My husband calls them 2 ½ shades of gray.)

I’m also working on better explanations for the apple rating system to help readers navigate what’s right for them. Be looking for it in the weeks to come.

I hope you enjoy this ‘new’ heat level. And I hope that readers of clean romance will give it a try. If you are one of these readers, I would love to know what you think. You can contact me through the CONTACT ME page here on my website.

Thanks for reading!

 

Ch-ch-ch-changes…

Aren’t changes usually associated with the Spring? Spring has definitely sprung here in OK and changes are all around. My blog is no different. This week I should be talking about the Reading Challenge, but I had to adjust the schedule due to the news I’m about to share.

You may  or may not have noticed that some of my books are currently  unavailable. Here’s a list of affected titles:

The Wildflower Bride

Southern Hospitality 

Ten Reasons Not To Date A Cop

Blame It On Texas

With a few more changes waiting in the wings. But for now, here’s what’s happening.

The Wildflower Bride has gone out of print. Bottom line is a cover change. Thanks to our wonderful friend the Internet, books go out of print from the publisher and yet are still available from third party sellers and even distributors who have stock in the warehouse. You’ll still see the 12 in 1 volume, The 12 Brides of Summer, for sale, but you’re also going to have the opportunity to buy the e-novella in a special 1-in-1 version that hasn’t previously been released. I don’t have plans to put this book out in print, but I do have a few 4-in-1 copies that were compiled for Walmart, and I’ll be giving a few of those away in the upcoming weeks. Here’s what to look for:

The Wildflower Bride is a Green Apple rated book.

Blame It On Texas: Due to a change with the publisher, I now have the rights back to this contemporary, western novella. It too has undergone a small cover change, but the most exciting thing…? I am making this book available in print for the first time! Keep in mind that this is a novella so it’s short, and I’m doing everything in my power to keep the price as low as possible for my print readers.

Here’s what to look for:

Blame It On Texas is a Red Apple rated book.

Ten Reasons Not To Date A Cop is in the same boat with Blame It On Texas. I am currently working to get it back onto the cyber shelves, but these things take time. And I never have enough of that! <g> It’ll most likely go up in e-book first and then in print. The good news is since I am offering this book myself, I’m hoping to be able to get the paper in at a much better price than before.

Here’s what to look for:

Ten Reasons Not To Date A Cop is a Red Apple rated book.

And that brings me to Southern Hospitality (and Southern Comfort) … the two books in the Hot Southern Nights Series will most likely be off the shelves for a bit longer than the others on this list. Southern Comfort is currently available, but will be disappearing in the next few weeks. It’s going to take a bit before I can get these back out, but never fear, they will be back and with their companion book, Southern Charm. But that’s a whole ‘nother story!

I don’t have covers or anything to show you, but when I do, I’ll be sure everyone knows what’s coming. In the mean time, just be patient and I promise to make it worth your while. And so everyone knows, The Hot Southern Nights Series is a Red Apple rated series.

With the republishing of the Hot Southern Nights series, my pen name will be a thing of the past. I hope this isn’t confusing for anyone. If you ever have a question about a book, when something will be available, or even its rating and what that means, don’t hesitate to send me over an email. Since I write different genres and different ‘heat levels,’ I feel it’s extremely important to make sure you know the rating of the book you have in your hands. Since I work with different publishers the quickest way to check a book’s rating is right on my website.

I’ll be back in a couple of weeks for a reading challenge update. I’m doing my best to get caught up after reading my RITA books. I’ve knocked one more challenge book off my list, and I’m working on another two.

How’s your reading going this year? Are you living up to the challenge? Do you have a question for me about one of my re-releases? Leave me a comment below. Everyone who comments will be entered into a drawing to win a signed copy of Small Town Summer Brides which includes my novella, The Wildflower Bride, as well as three more novellas by other great authors!

And as always, thanks for reading!

 

 

And don’t forget…Marrying Jonah releases tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Release Day ~ Healing a Heart

healing-heart-3d-cover-2It’s here! Finally! It’s release day for Healing a Heart! In honor of the occasion, I’ve added a new excerpt. Hope you’ll stay and read a little more about Healing a Heart. It’s a sweet story about forgiveness, second chances, and leaving yourself open enough to find love again.

As cowboys, the Langston brothers of Cattle Creek, Texas, know it’s easy to mend a fence. Mending a broken heart, however, takes time…
 
Rancher Jake Langston prides himself on being the sensible type. But five years after the loss of his wife left him to raise their daughter alone, he indulges in a one-night stand with a sexy stranger. He thought he’d never see the woman again. Four months later, though, she’s standing in his drive with a big surprise.

Bryn Talbot wants nothing from the hunky cowboy who got her pregnant, but her Southern nature demands she at least tell him about it. When Jake’s family persuades her to stay for a while, she’s soon won over by their charms—and by Jake. But with the losses the two of them have suffered in the past, neither is sure if they’re ready to take the leap to forever…

peek-at-healing-a-heart

AMY LILLARD PINTEREST Amy Lillard romance author http://www.amylillardbooks.com #AmyLillardBooks  Amy Lillard readers group Amy Lillard romance author http://www.amylillardbooks.com #AmyLillardBooks  

 

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Leave a comment and be entered into this week’s drawing for an audio copy of Loving a Lawman.

When you read a series, do you always read in order, or do you read them as you find them?

And as always, thanks for reading!

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Should You Date a Cowboy?

Days…There are mere days until the release of Healing a Heart! Can you say Amy is excited? And I am. This book—this series—has been a long time coming, and I love that I finally get to share my cowboy brothers with you!

Healing a Heart is Jake’s book. If you read Loving a Lawman, you probably remember Jake, sweet, grieving Jake whose wife died in childbirth. Now he’s doing the best he can, running the family ranch and raising his daughter as a single dad. His life is in something of a holding pattern, that is until Jessie McAllen Langston enters his name for the most eligible bachelor in Texas. Jake comes in fifteenth, but it’s enough to wreak havoc on his calm and peaceful life. Women are coming out to the ranch hoping to snag themselves a real-life cowboy.

date-a-cowboy

Now, I love cowboys. I love cowboy movies, rodeos, and everything to do with the history of the Old West. But I didn’t marry a cowboy. Which made me wonder, how many women out there really can handle the cowboy life? Or is it just a romantic fantasy better lived through wonderful romances?

So I developed a quiz to help you determine…

Could you date a cowboy?

Answer the questions below—honestly, of course.

  1. Have you ever dated a cowboy?

A. Yes

B. No

C. Never

2. Would you ever date a cowboy?

A. Yes

B. No

C. Maybe

3. Do you know what a real cowboy is like?

A. Oh, yeah! Ropes, Pick-ups and Good livin’

B. You mean like John Wayne?

C. I have a pink cowboy hat.

4. Do you know the difference between a bull, steer, cow, heifer, and calf?

A, Of course

B. I think so

C. There’s a difference?

5. Do you know what Copenhagen is?

A. Long cut or snuff?

B. A city in Denmark

C. No idea

6. You see a guy in Wranglers, your first thought is

A. Let me at ‘em

B. What are Wranglers?

C. No way

7. What kind of beer?

A. Coors

B. Corona

C. Heineken

8. Do you watch the PBR?

A. Every chance I can

B. Sometimes

C. What the heck does that mean?

9. Does a ride in a pickup out in the pasture on a starry night (while keeping a close eye out for coyotes) sound romantic to you?

A. Sign me up!

B. Maybe

C. Are you crazy?

10. I could spend the rest of my life staring at wide-open spaces and livestock.

A. Sounds like heaven

B. The rest of my life?

C. Count me out!

Give yourself 3 points for every A answer, 2 for every B answer, and 1 for every C answer.

If you scored 30-25 Yes! Go find yourself a cowboy!

24-18 Maybe…but you better think this through

17 to 10 You see a cowboy hat and a belt buckle? Run! Run as fast as you can!

Below 10 did you even answer the questions? Seriously, the lowest you can get is 10

Leave me a comment and let me know how you did. Or at least leave me a comment, even if you don’t want to share your results. (LOL) Everyone who comments will be entered into a drawing to win an autographed copy of Healing a Heart.

If you’ve read and enjoyed the book, please feel free to leave a review on your favorite online site or drop a line to my publisher Berkley/Penguin and tell them how much you enjoyed the story. Kind words go a long way!

And as always, thanks for reading!

amy-sig-4

 

 

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Countdown to Healing a Heart

Guess what? We’re just a little over two weeks till the release of Healing a Heart! Can you tell I’m excited? Excited is a mild word. I’m downright giddy!healing-a-heart-meme-for-website

I grew up with a love of cowboys and all things Western. So I guess it only makes sense that I would want to write books about them too. To me, there’s something inherently special about a cowboy hero. And Jake Langston is no exception.

Jake is Seth’s brother (Loving a Lawman). Jake is the second oldest in the Langston family and runs the family ranch in the absence of Mav, the oldest.

Jake has had a rough spell, beginning with the death of his wife in childbirth and continuing on as he does his best to raise his daughter with the help of his family, namely his mother and grandmother. And he has no intentions of ever getting married again. Ever.

Then a one night stand turns his life upside down.

Even the mighty fall.

Now Jake is torn between his vows to himself and his responsibilities to this new child entering his life. But Bryn Talbot, the mother, is unlike any woman he’s ever met, and Jake finds himself thinking about more than visitation rights and financial support.

peek-at-healing-a-heart

Bryn looked out over the pool to the ranch beyond. The buildings and other fenced areas created an L around the property, and she wondered what they were all used for. She had no idea the ranch would be this . . . sprawling. But it seemed as if that was the measure of Texas. Sprawling.

Even the table they had eaten at was a huge entity that seemed to go on for miles.

But it had been fun. She had worried about sitting at a table with a bunch of strangers. That was what they were to her, strangers. Even Jake.

And that was the weirdest part of all. They were having a baby and they didn’t know the first thing about each other. But come tomorrow, that was one thing they were going to have to work on. Just how did one go about getting to know the father of their child?

She moved a little further out onto the patio, staring up at the billion stars in the sky. Maybe it was because the land was so flat or maybe things really were bigger in Texas, but it seemed that there were twice the number of stars here than in Georgia.

She heard a clicking noise and looked to see Kota padding across the patio. She didn’t know a lot about dogs, but he seemed friendly enough. What was it Jake had said? As long as she didn’t break from the herd. She wasn’t exactly sure what that meant but she could guess.

“Come here, doggy.” She lowered her voice and stooped over a bit, holding her hand out toward the pooch. He really was the craziest-colored dog she had ever seen. Mostly black, white, and gray with rusty patches thrown in for good measure. Kind of like a German shepherd that had been liberally flecked with bleach. She supposed he was some sort of herding dog, though she had no idea of the exact breed. Wait, weren’t they just called cow dogs?

Kota came closer, slowing and finally coming to a stop right in front of her. He sat on his haunches and stared up at her expectantly.

“You’re a good dog, right?” She hesitantly scratched him behind one ear.

He tilted his head to the side and she took that as a good sign.

“Yes, you are,” she said, gaining more confidence where he was concerned.

“Nice night.”

She nearly jumped out of her skin. Dog forgotten, she whirled around, hand pressed to her pounding heart. “Jake! You scared me!”

“I didn’t mean to.”

She lurched to the side and apparently Kota considered her breaking from the herd. He nipped at her heel, effectively keeping her in place.

“Ow,” she exclaimed more from surprise than pain.

Concern immediately took over Jake’s expression. “He didn’t hurt you, did he?”

She shook her head. “He just scared me a bit.”

Jake nodded, though he let out a high-pitched whistle. Kota immediately left Bryn to stand at his side, though she could tell Kota really wanted to make sure she behaved. Well, according to a cow dog’s standards anyway.

“What are you doing out here?” she asked.

“Same thing as you, I guess. Enjoying the evening.”

“Wesley in bed?”

“Finally.” He chuckled “She was pretty wound up at supper.”

“She’s a wonderful little girl.”

A silence fell between them, broken only by the sound of the night. There were no cars or horns. No sirens out here, just the low of the cows and the occasional bark as one of the other dogs heard something it didn’t like.

Kota’s ears stood up and he let out a small whine, but he never left Jake’s side.

“Go on,” Jake commanded.

The dog took off into the night.

She could hear the dogs barking, then things grew quiet once more.

“What are we going to do?” she quietly asked.

“Get married.”

She shook her head. “I can’t marry you.” Though her heart leapt at the prospect. Down, girl. He might be one of the most handsome men she had ever met and the fifteenth most eligible bachelor in the entire state, but she didn’t belong here. And he surely wouldn’t pick up and move to Georgia. So where did that leave them? “I guess we should talk about visitation and that sort of thing.” It sounded cold, like they were talking about something other than a living, breathing child. Something less.

“Why not? I have a good job, enough money to take care of you and the baby, and all my own teeth.”

“This is not why I told you about the baby.”

He took a step toward her. A menacing step, or was that a trick of the shadows where he stood? “Then why did you tell me, Bryn? You obviously don’t want money or a ring. So why come here and tell me when you have no intentions of letting me be a major part of the child’s life?”

“Maybe this was a mistake.”

“You think?” He took another step, this one bringing him close enough that she had to crane her head back to meet his cold green gaze.

“Not the baby.” She waved a hand around as if to dismiss that idea. “Coming here.”

“That’s what I’m talking about as well.”

She swallowed hard as he continued to tower over her.

“So why did you?”

“I don’t know,” she whispered in return.

Something changed between them, shifted, until the night seemed to hold something each one had been searching for but had never managed to find.

“Could it be you want to know if what we shared that night was real?”

“Of—of course it was real,” she sputtered. Deliberately obtuse was not her best look.

“You know what I mean.” He reached up a hand and brushed her hair back from her face. “I don’t remember the purple,” he murmured.

“Rick—my friend I was with that night—he thought it would be fun.”

“Does he always advise you?”

“Sometimes.” When had he gotten this close to her, and why had she only noticed now? It would take only a breath and he could swoop in and capture her lips with his own. Or maybe she should raise up on her toes and see if his kisses were as hot and sweet as she remembered.

And if they were? What then?

She wrenched herself from his embrace, only then realizing that somehow his arms had gotten wrapped around her.

“No.” The one word was breathless with anticipation and disappointment. “You can’t manipulate me this way. It’s not fair.” She backed away from him and fled to her room.

She could not fall under his spell again.

Healing a Heart will be available in paperback and ebook formats on February 7, 2017.

Hope you’ll check it out!

And I hope you’ll leave a comment. I’m giving away a signed copy of Healing a Heart (paperback version) to one luck commenter. Tell me, do you prefer paper or digital books? (I’m a paper girl myself.)

Thanks for reading!

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Loving a Lawman is here!

At last…

Can you hear Etta James sing? I can! At last Loving a Lawman is on the bookstore shelves! This book was a long time coming and I’m so excited to be able to share it with you.

LOVING A LAWMAN 1 Amy Lillard romance author http://www.amylillardbooks.com #AmyLillardBooks

LAL bothSheriff Seth Langston is head over heels for local wild child Jessie McAllen and has been for years. The trouble is she has eyes only for Seth’s rodeo star brother, Chase. Even though he considers Jessie his girl, Chase is an incorrigible ladies’ man with a wandering eye and no chance of settling down soon.

Jessie is ready to move away from Cattle Creek to put her feelings for Chase behind her, but after she shares a white-hot kiss with Seth, things get a little complicated. Jessie realizes her heart should have been his all along. And in the face of sudden tragedy, they’ll discover if their newfound passion will tear the Langston men apart or make the family stronger than ever. . . .

Here’s a tiny peek at Loving a Lawman.

Jessie sat at the end of the building farthest from the door. Her breathing had returned to normal and her head was down as she contemplated only heaven knew what. Her hands were braced her on her knees, and her hat was pulled low over her eyes.

Seth didn’t need to see them. He knew what color they were, had memorized it long ago—storm-cloud gray and just as dangerous, with dark rings around their irises that made them look twice as big as they really were and sooty lashes that should have belonged to a brunette.

“Jessie?” he said softly. It was the voice he used when talking to frightened mares and skittish colts and red-haired angels who had fallen from grace.

She didn’t look up, just raised her arms out in front of her, wrists lax, hands dangling, anger spent. “I’ll go peacefully. Just get it over with, Seth. Handcuff me and take me to jail.”

Handcuff her.

Now, there was an image Seth could’ve lived without.

He swallowed hard.

Despite his brother’s tomcat morals, and the fact that he didn’t deserve . . .

Well, despite everything that Chase didn’t deserve, including the sassy redhead, Jessie was Chase’s girl. Always had been. Always would be.

“I just want to talk to you about what happened tonight.”

She dropped her hands back to her lap and shrugged. But he still couldn’t see her face, couldn’t read what was going on inside that pretty little head of hers.

Uh-hum . . . did he say pretty? He’d meant . . . well, he’d meant something else, that was all.

AMY LILLARD PINTEREST Amy Lillard romance author http://www.amylillardbooks.com #AmyLillardBooks  Amy Lillard readers group Amy Lillard romance author http://www.amylillardbooks.com #AmyLillardBooks  Amy LIllard red rating Amy Lillard romance author http://www.amylillardbooks.com #AmyLillardBooks

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Why Romance

I recently read a post on Facebook where a Christian author was complaining that it was getting to the point where Christian books should be labeled as to whether or not they contained described and/or graphic sex, profane language, excessive on camera violence etc. Her chief complaint was that since these books were written for Christians, they shouldn’t have any of that in it.

romantic blogI didn’t think too much of it. IMHO, Christian books should reflect the world they portray. If any author writes a book that has a drug dealer in it or dirty cops, gang bangers or rock stars, chances are–even if the characters redeem themselves by the end of the book–there’s going to be some language along the way. It just seems natural to me.

But I realize now that she was just trying to protect her genre. And how did I figure this out?

A friend of mine just wrote a fantastic book. It’s gritty and raw. It’s the story of a disillusioned rock star and a graphic designer with a brain tumor. Her book does not end happy. No HEA equals no romance in my world. But so many people are calling her book a romance. (Don’t get me wrong: it’s a fantastic book, most probably the best thing she’s ever written. It’s brilliant.)

Yet to me, it’s not a romance.

But it goes beyond that. I get a Bookbub and eBook Soda email each day. On one such email I received an ad for a book that was a forbidden stepbrother priest romance. Huh? And it was in the inspirational category. Whaaaat?

I’ve prowled around on amazon and I’ve seen the warnings, “This book contains (enter undesirable behavior here.)” Rape, bondage, incest. And these are labeled romance! Some have husbands and wives cheating on each other, hitting each other, and even the unmarried heroes and heroines having sex with other people in the book. Not. Romance. Not to me anyway.

This makes me as indignant as the author who wants to keep Christian fiction clean. I want to keep romance…romantic.

When I first started writing romance there were certain rules that had to be followed. The hero and heroine couldn’t kiss anyone else in the book. I was even turned down once because my hero was in a relationship at the beginning of the book. Never mind that the reader knew before they even did that the relationship was for convenience only and would never stand up in the face of love. The editors didn’t like it.

The words used to describe the actual sex act were nicer. Cleaner, maybe even a little euphemistic, but hey, this is romance, woman’s fantasy. It should be romantic.  It needs to be romantic. The relations between the couple should be beautiful. The way love should be.

Language was also cleaner. I can remember when the ‘s’ word couldn’t be used in Harlequins. And the language in single title books, might cross that line from time to time, but definitely not on a regular basis.

So what does this have to do with you?

In July the first book in my new series will be released. It’s a contemporary secular romance. Heartwarming, which means it’ll leave you with the warm fuzzies, and western which means it takes place in Texas and there are cowboys involved. But the main thing is that it’s a little old school.

Yes, it has described love scenes, just a couple. They are beautifully written and very much necessary to the plot. In fact, without the first one, there is no story. There is a touch of language, but you can count the words on one hand, maybe two.  And what is used keeps the book firmly in the PG-13 category. Not above.

My main focus for this tale, as it is with any of my books, is the story. I wanted to bring the reader the best story I could.

I love Seth and Jessie. Their love is nearly impossible and has to be weighed against the needs of the Langston family and Jessie’s need to get away from the town that won’t allow her to outlive her undeserved reputation. It’s a poignant story about second chances and unrequited love. But it won’t need any warnings. Unless I say:

Warning: this book contains sweet love scenes between a small town sheriff and his brother’s girl. It may cause feelings of wistfulness and nostalgia. After reading this book people have been known to want to move to Cattle Creek and take up residence. Unfortunately it only exists in the author’s imagination but you can visit again in the next book in the series.

Until then, check out my new website dedicated to the Cattle Creek series.

www.CattleCreekSeries.com

Blogging today

Just wanted everyone to know that I’ve made a few changes to my website with a few more still to come. This site will now be an umbrella for all the others. Some are ready for you to  explore while others are still in the planning stages. My goal is simple, segment each of my genres or series as the case may be so that readers can connect with each site without the distractions of the others. If you love Amish, I have a new site dedicated just to Plain living. I also have my Amie Louellen site which showcases all of my Amie Louellen contemporary titles. Coming soon will be a site about my Loveless Texas Series which begins with Take Me Back To Texas, which recently received its own makeover. And there’s still more brewing.

If you enjoy my Amish books be sure to check out my new Amish centered website Amy’s Amish Adventures and you can read my newest blog about my recent trip to Chouteau, OK. And while you’re there, sign up to receive notifications when I post a new blog.

If you like fun, sassy, and sexy reads, I’m also blogging on my Amie Louellen site about my new Penguin contract and how it affects my pen name. Be sure to check it out. BLOG And I would love for you to follow that blog as well, if contemporary romance is your thing.

Be watching for more changes to come. And remember, the best and easiest way to get the  latest news is  my A Squared newsflash newsletter. If you haven’t signed up to receive it, it only takes a second. Go HERE to fill out the form today! There are special giveaways and exciting things to come this year to those on my newsletter mailing list.

And as always thanks for reading!

Amy

 

Jaded: A Book Review

When I had the opportunity to read Jaded by Varina Denman and review it on my blog, I was very excited at the prospect. I love helping new authors, but I was also very interested in reading the book. It deals with a sensitive subject matter, especially for those who write for the Christian market. The concept of us against the church. I was anxious to see how Varina handled the situations and the lessons learned.

Ruthie can remember exactly when she and her mother stopped going to church, but she didn’t know what happened. The circumstances surrounding their break with the church are eventually revealed along with secrets that have been kept for many, many years.

The first thing that stands out in this novel is the author’s understanding of small town life.  All of the relationships, the intertwining lives, secrets kept and held, gossip, and general slow-paced bustle that can only happen in tiny rural towns.

I enjoyed the characters, how they dealt with one another, the histories they shared and how they coped with it each and every day. That’s not to say that all of the characters are lovable. But isn’t that the way of life?

All in all, the book was an easy read. I found the pages flying by as the story of Ruthie, her mother and father, and all that happened all those years ago was revealed.

Yet Jaded is more than that. It’s the tale of the new preacher coming to town, a little unsure of his talents and a lot unsure of how he fits into the church/town dynamic. It’s the tale of a convicted felon, recently released from prison, coming back for a second chance. But more than anything, it’s about understanding and trust.

With such well-defined and well-developed characters and a touching tale of love, forgiveness, and second chances, Jaded is a story for everyone. I loved every word.

Here’s a little bit about Jaded and Varina Denman.

jadedAs a child, Ruthie was shunned by the local congregation. Thirteen years later, Ruthie’s heart begins to stir when an attractive single preacher arrives. But their relationship is bitterly opposed—unearthing a string of secrets which threaten to turn the church, the town, and her world upside-down.

Jaded is the rare novel that is both love story between a woman and man … and God and His church. Plunging deep into the waters of shame, forgiveness and restoration, it will resonate with every woman who’s experienced a loss of heart … and a thirst for hope.

Varina Denman writes stories about the unique struggles women face. She teaches creative writing and literature, volunteers in her local cooperative, and is a home educator to her five children. She resides with her family in North Texas. This is her first novel.

Get your copy of Jaded on AMAZON and B&N