Book Recommendation: Too Pretty by Andrea Grigg

Too Pretty Front Cover140x205mm WEB

Back cover blurb:

Being beautiful isn’t easy – just ask Ellie Paxton.

Frustrated by a long string of empty relationships, Ellie makes a promise to God not to date for six months, a promise she’s determined to keep.

Tired of being continually misjudged because of her looks Ellie moves to Sydney for a fresh start. But when her path keeps crossing with the darkly handsome Nathaniel, that promise becomes much harder to fulfil.

As they battle with their attraction for each other, Ellie is not the only one to discover it takes more than simply looking in a mirror to find out who you truly are …

Could it be that God has a bigger plan? Could this really be one of those matches made in heaven …?

Narelle: I enjoyed reading Too Pretty, despite at times wanting to sit down with Ellie, the female lead, to give her some much needed parental guidance. Ellie Paxton is a sleaze magnet. Her natural physical beauty draws a combination of admiration and lustful responses from men, and jealous and downright nasty responses from women and her extended family. Unfortunately her immediate family, including her missionary parents, are overseas and effectively absent from her life. The aunts, cousins and friends in her life inadvertently feed Ellie’s obsession with her appearance by talking about it all the time.

Ellie’s insecure despite being told she’s beautiful and, at the same time, she hates feeling like everyone is judging her by her looks. Her extended family accuse her of being self absorbed, which is a natural consequence of any obsession with self. Ellie has poor boundaries and has a history of falling into a series of unhealthy romantic relationships. She makes a promise to God that she won’t date for six months.

Enter the handsome Nathaniel (Nate), a doctor from a wealthy family who has women tripping over themselves to get his attention. He’s Ellie’s match in the beauty stakes. Nate hates all the female adoration whereas Ellie’s poor self esteem leads her to seek adoration for all the wrong reasons. Nate is the brooding, wounded hero who knows he’s not in the right place to start a relationship with Ellie or any other woman. He tries to deny and hide his attraction to Ellie, which piques her interest because he’s not hitting on her.

Ellie and Nate develop a friendship over six months that’s defined by Ellie’s no dating promise. During the story we discover why Nate is in self-protect mode and hesitant to embark on a serious relationship. His character growth was a highlight of the story and I spent the latter part of the book wondering if Ellie was worthy of him. Could she mature and learn the lesson from Proverbs 31 that true inner beauty is what really matters? When God doesn’t come through for Ellie and answer her prayers, she takes a bold step that backfires on her and threatens her relationship with Nate. I recommend Too Pretty to those looking for a fun, contemporary romance set in Australia.

I received a complimentary copy of the book from the author.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Read a FREE sample at Amazon.com

Celebrate ACW’s birthday and win a $150 Gift Card

This week my Australasian Christian Writers (ACW) group blog is celebrating its first birthday by embarking on a scavenger hunt and giving away a $150 Gift Card. The winner can choose to receive their gift card from Koorong or WORD (Australian winner only), Soul Inspirationz (New Zealand winner only), or from Amazon.com or Light the Dark.

Come and join our ACW birthday celebrations and you could be a winner. The link is below. Good luck!

http://australasianchristianwriters.blogspot.com/2014/09/acw-birthday-celebrations-scavenger.html

Friday Weekend Escape to Pukerua Bay, New Zealand with Andrea Grigg

I’m delighted to welcome my Aussie author friend, Andrea Grigg, to my blog today. We’re going to escape for the weekend with Andrea to a beautiful bay in New Zealand. Enjoy!

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Hi everyone! It’s Andrea Grigg here, ready to whisk you away to the gorgeous little seaside suburb of Pukerua Bay, about 40 mins north of New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington. (Just so you know, I was born in New Zealand, but have lived in Australia for over thirty years.)

Andrea_photo1

Whenever my husband and I visit my parents in Paraparaumu, (Maori names are a bit of a challenge, aren’t they?) we zip off to this beautiful cove and soak up the atmosphere. That’s Kapiti Island out there, a nature reserve, home to a number of native New Zealand birds.

Andrea_photo2

This next photo is a personal favourite of mine – not just because it shows my dad and husband being very cheeky behind my mum’s back, but also because of the lovely New Zealand bush in the background. It has a beautiful sweet fragrance, quite different to the herbal tones of the Australian bush.

Andrea_photo3

There are a number of cottages across the road from the beach. Some old and run down, others more modern. All part of the charm of Pukerua Bay. In fact, this little place would be a perfect setting for one of my stories …

Andrea_photo4

As you can see, Pukerua Bay isn’t your typical beach. In fact there is barely any sand at all, just rock pools, shells and piles and piles of driftwood …

Andrea_photo5

… and some enterprising soul has put pieces of that driftwood to good use. Cute little tree, isn’t it? I especially love the heart-shaped piece of pumice at the top. Sigh. It really is a great place for a romance writer.

Thank you for visiting with me – I hope some of you actually get to go there one day. If you do, you’ll have to let me know.

h'shot

ANDREA GRIGG grew up in Auckland, New Zealand, but has lived more than half her life in Australia.

Andrea loves words, finding out what makes people tick, and romance. Her debut novel, A Simple Mistake, is a contemporary romance, and was a finalist in the Caleb Awards 2012. Her second novel, Too Pretty, was released August 2014.

Andrea lives with her husband on Queensland’s Gold Coast, where they have raised their three adult children – two daughters and a son. Recently retired from teaching ten-year-olds, if she isn’t being a domestic executive or socialising, Andrea can be found in her cave, writing stories.

Website: www.andreagrigg.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/author.andreagrigg?ref=hl
Twitter: @andreagrigg

Too Pretty Front Cover140x205mm WEB

Being beautiful isn’t easy – just ask Ellie Paxton.

Frustrated by a long string of empty relationships, Ellie makes a promise to God not to date for six months, a promise she’s determined to keep.

Tired of being continually misjudged because of her looks Ellie moves to Sydney for a fresh start. But when her path keeps crossing with the darkly handsome Nathaniel, that promise becomes much harder to fulfil.

As they battle with their attraction for each other, Ellie is not the only one to discover it takes more than simply looking in a mirror to find out who you truly are …

Could it be that God has a bigger plan? Could this really be one of those matches made in heaven …?

~~~~~

I’m interviewing Andrea Grigg on Inspy Romance tomorrow (the post will be live on Saturday at 7pm, AEST) and we’re giving away an ebook copy of Too Pretty. You can check out our interview at the following link.

http://www.inspyromance.com/interview-with-aussie-author-andrea-grigg-and-giveaway/

Heartsong Presents September New Releases

My third fiction book release with Harlequin’s Love Inspired Heartsong Presents line, The Doctor’s Return, was released in August 2014. Today I’m posting information on the new Heartsong Presents releases for September.

Four Heartsong Presents books are released each month under the Love Inspired brand: two contemporary inspirational romances and two historical inspirational romances. The Love Inspired range of books include contemporary romance (Love Inspired), historical romance (Love Inspired Historical) and romantic suspense (Love Inspired Suspense).

North American readers can purchase books from the Harlequin Reader Service. International readers outside the USA and Canada can purchase the print books online from Amazon and The Book Depository (free international shipping). If you’re looking for inspirational (Christian) romances to read, please check out the Heartsong Presents and Love Inspired books.

Arizona Cowboy

Cowboy Holden Whitaker Believes in Second Chances 

Holden has never stopped loving Ava Herbert, even though she disappeared just as he was ready to say “I do.” Now Ava is back as the town’s new physical therapist, and this time Holden will do anything to get her to stay.

As Holden seeks to renew their romance, Ava’s guilt grows. She’s never stopped thinking about her first love, but she has a secret that could destroy his feelings for her. When an injury lands the handsome rancher in her office, Ava can’t seem to resist his charms. If she can find the courage to share the truth, they may just have another go-round at happily-ever-after.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Read a FREE sample at Amazon.com

Campaigning for Love

Katherine Harper Can’t Be Beat 

For Katherine, running for city council is about protecting children from the kind of grim childhood she had. And she won’t let privileged politician’s son Nick Delaney ruin her chances. Like he once ruined her dreams of true love and a family of her own.

Nick has his sights set on public office, not on rekindling a star-crossed romance from years ago. Yet as he and Katherine spend time together on the election circuit, his competitor compels him with her beauty and heart of gold. Falling for the opposition was never in his plans, but Nick will give anything to earn Katherine’s forgiveness and renew their love.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Read a FREE sample at Amazon.com

Ozark Wedding

Gavin Mathis Brings Light to the Countryside 

Gavin is determined to bring his sleepy hometown of Deer Lick, Missouri, into the electric age. But he doesn’t count on his wayward brother’s schoolhouse hijinks getting in the way—or the lovely teacher who sends Gavin’s heart into a tailspin.

Teacher Irene Delaney is a talented pianist who dreams of making music far beyond her small town. As the electricity humming between her and Gavin begins to grow, she worries falling for the striking man will douse her big-city plans. Can Gavin convince Irene she can keep her dreams—and they can still have forever?

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Read a FREE sample at Amazon.com

The Marshal's Pursuit

Malia Vaccarelli Needs a Place to Hide 

When her brother is arrested for a gangster’s murder, Malia is plunged into danger. Her life in peril, she trusts no one—not even the special U.S. marshal assigned to protect her. But handsome Frank Louden isn’t what Malia expects.

Hiding Malia on his grandparents’ Tuxedo Park estate may not be the best idea, but Frank is determined to do anything to protect her…even if he’s soon unable to ignore his growing feelings for the beautiful woman. As their romance blossoms, will Malia’s criminal connections force her to choose between her family and her heart?

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Read a FREE sample at Amazon.com

Friday Weekend Escape to Martha’s Vineyard, USA with Lisa Belcastro

Today we’re escaping for the weekend with my author friend, Lisa Belcastro, to the gorgeous Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, USA. A place I’d love to visit! Lisa is giving us a tour of her home town and sharing her island paradise with us. Enjoy!

Take a Presidential Vacation on Martha’s Vineyard

By Lisa Belcastro

I’m blessed to live on Martha’s Vineyard. While thousands flock here in the summer, including President Obama, a few of us brave the cold winters and enjoy the beauty of the Island twelve months a year. We have very few guests in January, but then June rolls around and folks start asking if we’ve got an extra bedroom or two.

When friends arrive for a weekend, we have a list of must-do warm weather activities. No visit would be complete without a trip to one of our sandy beaches. We all load into my SUV and head Up Island to Aquinnah to my favorite beach and the Gay Head Lighthouse. The beach is sandwiched between the aquamarine waters of the Atlantic and Aquinnah’s magnificent clay cliffs, which vary in colors and striations and star in many a tourist’s picture. It truly is paradise.

Aquinnah Cliffs – A view from the Gay Head Lighthouse

Aquinnah Cliffs – A view from the Gay Head Lighthouse

On the way home we’ll detour through downtown Edgartown for a drive-by of the historic captain’s homes, the Whaling Church, and the quaint shops and restaurants that line the streets. After an outdoor shower, complete with hot and cold running water, we’re in the garden picking vegetables and then it’s time to pack a cooler, load the grill and head out for a sunset beach picnic. The fishing town of Menemsha is the best, and most famous, location to the watch the sunset. We arrive at 5 pm to be sure to get a parking spot, and walk to the fish market to purchase the daily fresh catch and some lobsters to cook on the grill while the evening sky is painted in shades of oranges, blues and pinks. Beach picnics are my most favorite summer activity.

Sunset on Menemsha Beach

Sunset on Menemsha Beach

The busiest week in August starts on the third Wednesday of the month with Illumination Night in the M.V. Camp Meeting Association’s gingerbread cottages. These beautiful and unique homes are crafted with intricate designs, themes, and colors, and form circles around the large Tabernacle.

Three of the most photographed cottages in the MV Camp Meeting Association

Three of the most photographed cottages in the MV Camp Meeting Association

The Campground was founded in 1835 as a Methodist summer meeting location. Hundreds of families pitched tents and gathered in July and August for church services held day and night. Today there are over three hundred cottages, and come Illumination Night they are decorated with paper lanterns of every imaginable size and shape. Crowds walk the paths or spread out blankets on the green, listening to the band play and singing along to the music while we wait for the lanterns to be illuminated at 9 pm.

The M.V. Agricultural Fair opens at 1 pm on Thursday, when Islanders race into the Ag Hall to find out if their entry won a ribbon or award. We often go to the Fair all four days, enjoying the rides, animals, exhibits, and food. It’s a country fair, small in size, but large in fun.

Ag Fair – the Agricultural Fair is one of summer’s highlights for residents and visitors alike.

Ag Fair – the Agricultural Fair is one of summer’s highlights for residents and visitors alike.

The unofficial end of summer seems to be marked by the annual Oak Bluffs Fireworks on Friday night. Hundreds of families spread out on the green grass of Ocean Park and watch the amazing light show. This year I’ll be sailing in the harbor on the Alabama, the sister ship to the schooner Shenandoah that is the primary location for my latest novel, Shenandoah Dreams. Can’t wait!

Shenandoah – Sailing in the Vineyard Sound

Shenandoah – Sailing in the Vineyard Sound

I’ve shared a glimpse of the magical Island I call home. There is so much more to see and do, but what we’ve outlined here would be one fantastic weekend. Call me if you decide to explore my bit of Heaven on earth. 

Author pic

LISA BELCASTRO lives with her family on island of Martha’s Vineyard. She writes inspirational romances set on the Island and the surrounding waters. She loves chocolate, reading, writing, running, working in her gardens, including weeding, and almost all outdoor activities — as long as the temperature is above sixty degrees! Being on or near the water is pure joy for her, and she is so happy the warmer weather has arrived.

When she’s not at her desk working on her next novel or writing the cuisine column for Vineyard Style Magazine, Lisa is volunteering at her daughter’s school, serving in her church community, gardening, training for her first 50-mile road race, or walking the beach looking for sea glass.

http://www.amazon.com/Shenandoah-Dreams-Winds-Change-Book-ebook/dp/B00LETGK2I

www.lisabelcastro.com
www.facebook.com/belcastrolisa
www.twitter.com/lisabelcastro19

Shenandoah_Dreams_FRONT

“It’s just a dream. It’s just a dream,” Melissa Smith whispers as her eyes focus on the two men standing before her. She lives in the twenty-first century. She is chaperoning her sixth-grade students on an educational sailing trip. They are not visiting Plimoth Plantation, or the Boston Tea Party Museum, or the Concord Bridge reenactment. They are sailing over the waters of the Vineyard Sound around the island of Martha’s Vineyard. So the men before her, dressed as though they’ve stepped off the set of a movie about the American Revolutionary War, cannot possibly be real. She’s dreaming. She will wake up.

But can a dream man touch her and send bolts of electricity through her veins and ignite a fire in her heart the likes of which she’s never felt before? Can a dream man serve her food that tastes divine? Can a dream lasts for weeks on end?

And if she’s not dreaming, then she’s traveled back in time, which is impossible. But here she is, in 1770, uncertain how she arrived, how she’ll get home, and if her heart could bare to be parted from Captain Isaiah Reed. Only time will tell if Melissa is given a chance at love with Isaiah or swept forward once again to her previous life.

ACRBA tour Dynamic Ageing by Ray Hawkins

18th – 22nd August 2014

Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance

Is Introducing

Dynamic Ageing

(Even Before 1 February 2014)

By

Ray Hawkins

 

About the Book

Discover how to make the ageing experience into an adventure. Join the Lord’s plan for ageing dynamically. Understand why God’s seniors are priceless. God’s grace for dynamic ageing more than compensates for physical limitations.

 About the Author

 

Ray Hawkins, retired after over 40 years as a Churches of Christ minister, enjoys sharing themes from the Scriptures through Devotional writing. Married to Mary, multi-published inspirational romance author, they have three children and five grandchildren. Ray shares his insights in his first two books on Marriage and Children with more ideas to come about ministry and much more. Living in Beauty Point Tasmania Ray heads up a new Christian Fellowship as well as doing relief preaching, community work and writing.

Australasian Christian Writers blog

I’ve written a few posts for the Australasian Christian Writers (ACW) group blog over the past couple of weeks. The links are below.

What’s on your Writing Bucket List (August 6, 2014) http://australasianchristianwriters.blogspot.com.au/2014/08/whats-on-your-writing-bucket-list-plus.html

Writing Conferences: The Benefits for Writers (August 11, 2014) http://australasianchristianwriters.blogspot.com.au/2014/08/writing-conferences-benefits-for-writers.html

Writers Supporting other Writers (August 15, 2014) http://australasianchristianwriters.blogspot.com.au/2014/08/writers-supporting-other-writers.html

Overview of Writing Conferences and Events for Australian and New Zealand writers (August 18, 2014) http://australasianchristianwriters.blogspot.com.au/2014/08/overview-of-writing-conferences-and.html