Tag Archives: Karen Witemeyer

Review & Giveaway: The Kissing Tree by Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, Amanda Dykes, and Nicole Deese

THE KISSING TREE
Four Novellas Rooted in Timeless Love

by KAREN WITEMEYER, REGINA JENNINGS, 

AMANDA DYKES, and NICOLE DEESE
 
Genre: Christian / Romance / Anthology
Publisher: Bethany House
Date of Publication: October 13, 2020
Number of Pages: 400
 

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In this Texas-sized romance novella collection, courting couples, decades apart, leave a permanent mark of their love by carving their initials into the same oak’s bark.

Regina Jennings: “Broken Limbs, Mended Hearts

When a young man from her past returns and upends their small town with a new invention, schoolteacher Bella Eden is reminded of the heartbreak she suffered years ago under the old oak tree. When her job is on the line, can she trust the man who disrupted her life to help her fight for a brighter future?

Karen Witemeyer: “Inn for a Surprise

Determined to keep love alive for others, Phoebe Woodward builds an inn that caters to couples. When her father sends a property manager to help make it a success, she finds her whimsical vision thwarted by his stodgy practicality. Finding the right blend of romance and reality is a challenge, and her spinster heart may be in for a surprise.

Amanda Dykes: “From Roots to Sky

WWII airman Luke Hampstead found comfort in letters from the sister of a lost compatriot. When he visits Texas to thank her, he discovers her constructing a project with surprising ties to his letters . . . and that she herself is even more surprising. While a promising opportunity awaits him elsewhere, will what they’ve shared be enough to give their future flight?

Nicole Deese: “Heartwood

Abby Brookshire’s world is turned upside down when the historic tree she’s strived to preserve as the head groundskeeper at the Kissing Tree Inn is put in danger of removal. Making matters worse, the only way to protect its legacy is to partner with the man she’s been ignoring since he left town years ago. Will she have the courage to move on from the past and start a new beginning?

I have read a few collections of love stories based in Texas before, but none of them hold a candle to the work in The Kissing Tree by Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, Amanda Dykes, and Nicole Deese. While those other anthologies had a connection with each other because of the time period or place, The Kissing Tree is a truly unified piece that stretches across generations through the love for and longevity of a magnificent oak tree.

Jenning’s story – Broken Limbs, Mended Hearts – is a lesson in forgiveness and trust. Bethany House could not have picked a better author to voice the charm and innocence of romance in 1868. Although Bella Eden struck me as a little modern at times, she still possessed equal parts southern belle and pioneer woman, which are traits that I adore and respect very much. Of the four stories in this book, this one is a tie for my favorite because of the characters. Jennings created larger than life characters with fantastic obstacles, making it difficult to choose whose side to take. Even when the stakes are high, Jennings writes with a levity that assures you that true love will conquer all.

Witemeyer’s story – Inn for a Surprise – took me a while to get into. For reasons that I can’t explain, it took me a few chapters to take a shine to Phoebe and Barnabas. Maybe it was the obvious tension between the two characters that kept me from relaxing into the story. At any rate, when we start seeing the softer side of Phoebe and Barnabas finally drops his perfect façade, I really enjoyed the interaction between the two and how a competition made way to teamwork. Witemeyer’s description of the Kissing Tree Inn’s conception is a joy to read and provides a lovely backstory and backdrop for the stories that follow. And as a side note, I especially appreciated that the cover artist clearly took notes from this adorable story when designing the cover art.

Amanda Dykes’ story – From Roots to Sky – is my other favorite in this book. There is something about a relationship that grows between two people without them even realizing what has happened. I loved how a connection forged by love for Hannah’s brother (who is Luke’s best friend) defies tragedy and distance, and manifests itself beautifully. Like any good love story entangled in secrets, Dykes keeps us in suspense over why Luke can’t just tell Hannah why he really came to Oak Springs. Of the four stories, this one felt the most complete and could be fleshed out into a lovely movie that I would gladly watch.

Nicole Deese’s story – Heartwood – is the only one that doesn’t paint the heroine as an oddball spinster. There is no timestamp on this one, but I’m guessing that the story takes place in present day. So I guess it makes sense that even if Abby were 40 and single (I’m assuming she is not), there would be no stigma over being unmarried and childless. Again, Bethany House could not have picked a better author to voice the practical and modern story between two old lovers being reunited by conflict. In more ways than one, this story wraps up the other three very nicely as everything comes full circle. Intended or not, there are parallels between the first story and this one, and the symmetry of it is quite lovely.

I give kudos to the authors and editors for the amazing job of tying these stories together. It gave me a little thrill every time I realized the connections between each story. The Kissing Tree really is a fantastic book comprised of four exceptional romance novellas.

Voted
#1 Reader’s Favorite Christian Romance Author of 2019 by Family Fiction
Magazine
, bestselling author  Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines,
and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. She makes her home in Abilene, Texas, with her
husband and three children.

 
Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma
Baptist University, with a degree in English and a minor in history. She’s the
winner of the National Readers’ Choice Award, a two-time Golden Quill finalist, and a finalist for the Oklahoma Book of the Year Award. Regina has worked at
the Mustang News and at First Baptist Church of Mustang, along
with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows. She
lives outside of Oklahoma City with her husband and four children.
 
Amanda Dykes is a drinker of tea, dweller of redemption, and spinner of hope-filled tales who spends most days chasing wonder and words with her family. She’s a former English teacher and the author of Whose Waves These Are, a Booklist 2019 Top Ten Romance debut, as well as three novellas.
 
Nicole Deese’s eight humorous, heartfelt, and hope-filled novels include the 2017 Carol Award-winning A Season to Love. Her 2018 release, A New Shade of Summer, was a finalist in the RITA Awards, Carol Awards, and INSPY Awards. Both of these books are from her bestselling Love in Lenox series. When she’s not working on her next contemporary romance, she can usually be found reading one by a window overlooking the inspiring beauty of the Pacific Northwest. She lives in small-town Idaho with her happily-ever-after hubby, two rambunctious sons, and princess daughter with the heart of a warrior.
 
 
 
GIVEAWAY:
Six Winners!
Grand Prize: Print copy of The Kissing Tree plus a custom 18″ x 3.5″ wooden sign
Five Winners: Print Copy of The Kissing Tree
October 20-30, 2020
(U.S. Only)

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FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY. 

 

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Review & Giveaway: Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer

HEART ON THE LINE
Ladies of Harper’s Station #2
by
Karen Witemeyer
  Genre: Christian / Historical / Frontier Romance
Publisher: Bethany House
Date of Publication: June 6, 2017
Number of Pages: 336
Scroll down for Giveaway!
 

Grace Mallory is tired of hiding. She hungers for a normal life, perhaps even a suitor like two of her friends in Harper’s Station have found. But when the man she believes responsible for her father’s death discovers her whereabouts, survival takes priority.

Amos Bledsoe prefers bicycles to horses and private conversations over the telegraph wire to social gatherings with young ladies who see him as nothing more than an oddity. His fellow telegrapher, the mysterious Miss G, has been the ideal companion. For months, their friendship—dare he believe, courtship?—over the wire has fed his hope that he has finally found the woman God intends for him. However, when he intercepts an ominous message and discovers her life is in peril, Amos must shed the cocoon of his quiet nature to become the hero Grace requires.

PRAISE FOR HEART ON THE LINE:
“Witemeyer blends history, suspense, and romance with touches of humor. Women will enjoy this story that proves heroes come in unexpected shapes and sizes and not always on a white charger.”Christian Market

“Online dating meets 1890s Texas in this charming, spiritually deep, laugh-out-loud funny romance!”—reader review on Goodreads
 PURCHASE LINKS:
300b2-review
My heart did a happy dance TWICE immediately upon beginning this book. I love telegrams. I have no idea why. I think I have romantic connotations with the communication medium because of the Sound of Music. The second thing that made my heart so happy was that the main character was a strong, independent woman with a quick wit. I love female characters with gumption, but more on that later.
Harper’s Station struck me as sort of a Neverland, being a women’s colony and with a definite “no boys allowed” vibe hanging in the air. The few men who live or have access to the town must be trustworthy because the women of Harper’s Station are tough. Aunt Henry might be getting on in years but she can still pull a terrifying pistol on uninvited guests. I haven’t read the prequel to this book, but Witemeyer does a great job of filling in some details so you don’t feel lost. I got attached to each character quickly, so you know I will be going back to read Book One.
But back to the romance of telegrams, this book delivers that warm and fluttery feeling. The idea of falling in love with someone and recognizing them by the style of their tapping was so cute. It sort of reminds me of how my heart would race when my AOL instant messenger would sound when I got a late night chat request from my latest crush. Not the same, I know. That’s why telegrams are so wonderful.
If you didn’t catch on to Grace’s smarts from the espionage-worthy plans she works out with her father, you definitely see them when she tests the two strangers who come to town. I don’t want to ruin any of it, so I will just say that Witemeyer’s writing style paints the scene with Amos beautifully. And when you start to worry that our heroine might be duped by dashing good looks, Witemeyer drops tiny descriptive sprinkles that will dissipate those qualms.
The storyline is a little predictable if you’re an avid romance reader, but the details are what captivate you and urge you to read on. I still felt the suspense and would wonder what sequence of events would lead us to the happy ending.
I’m adding this book to my cozy reading collection: books that I read when I need some uplifting or simply want to feel comfy wrapped up in a blanket with hot cocoa. I highly recommend that you add it to yours as well.
 

Winner of the HOLT Medallion and the Carol Award and a finalist for the RITA and Christy Award, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance to give the world more happily-ever-afters. Karen makes her home in Texas, with her husband and three children. 

 





————————————-
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Grand Prize:
1 WINNER: ALL FOUR OF BETHANY HOUSE’S JUNE HISTORICAL RELEASES, including Heart on the Line
June 23-July 2, 2017
(U.S. Only)

CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
6/23
Excerpt 1
6/24
Promo
6/25
Review
6/26
Guest Post 1
6/27
Review
6/28
Excerpt 2
6/29
Guest Post 2
6/30
Review
7/01
Promo
7/02
Review
   
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Excerpt: No Other Will Do by Karen Witemeyer

 

NO OTHER WILL DO
by 
Karen Witemeyer
Genre: Historical Western Romance / Inspirational
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Date of Publication: June 7, 2016
Number of Pages: 368
Scroll down for Giveaway!

Men are optional. That was the credo Emma Chandler’s suffragette aunts taught her and why she established Harper’s Station, a women’s colony that offers a fresh start to females in need. But when a dangerous and shadowy assailant tries repeatedly to drive the women out, Emma is forced to admit they might need a man after all. One who can fight. And there is only one man she trusts enough to ask.
Malachi Shaw has finally earned the respect he’s always craved by becoming an explosives expert for the railroad. Yet when Emma’s telegram arrives, he rushes back to Texas to repay the girl who once saved his life. Only she’s not a girl any longer. She’s a woman with a mind of her own and a smile that makes a man imagine a future he doesn’t deserve.
As the danger intensifies, Emma, Mal, and the ladies of Harper’s Station must choose between safety or risking everything to fight for their future.

 

PRAISE FOR THE BOOK:

 

“Witemeyer’s latest is an entertaining read with plenty of drama and action, a smidgen of suspense and two main characters with perfect chemistry . . . And of course, the romance is tender and sigh-worthy—a key reason why her readers keep coming back for more.”  
—RT Book Reviews

 

PURCHASE FROM:

 

No Other Will Do: Excerpt One

“If the sheriff is unavailable to assist us, what’s to stop us from hiring a man of our own to see to our protection?”

 

“A mercenary?” Flora Johnson lurched to her feet, alarm turning her cheeks a violent red. “You can’t! Men like that can’t be trusted. All they care about is money. They’re more likely to turn on us than help us. Once they see how defenseless we are, they’ll empty the bank and run off, leaving us even more destitute than before.” Her fingers visibly trembled. “No men. They can’t be trusted.”

 

“But what if we knew of one who could be trusted?” Aunt Henry proposed. She turned to Emma and peered at her with a pointed look. “A man who would rather sacrifice himself than bring harm to someone under his care.”

 

Emma frowned slightly. What was her aunt suggesting . . . ?

 

Then the answer came, and with it a fluttering in Emma’s belly she hadn’t felt in over a decade.

 

“Such a man doesn’t exist,” Flora snapped.

 

“Yes . . . he does.” Emma lifted her face to survey the women who depended on her for guidance, for leadership. Hope swelled in her breast along with a surge of newfound confidence—for she now had a plan. A plan that was sure to succeed because the man Aunt Henry spoke of had been fighting against injustice since the day he was born. “His name is Malachi Shaw.”

 

 

Winner of the HOLT Medallion and the Carol Award and a finalist for the RITA and Christy Award, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance to give the world more happily-ever-afters. Karen makes her home in Texas, with her husband and three children.
—————————————
GIVEAWAYS! GIVEAWAYS! GIVEAWAYS! 

FIVE WINNERS EACH GET
A SIGNED COPY OF THE BOOK!
  June 1 – June 10, 2016
CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

6/1       Missus Gonzo               — Excerpt #1
6/2       My Book Fix Blog          — Review
6/3       Books and Broomsticks — Author Interview #1
6/4       StoreyBook Reviews     — Guest Post
6/5       Margie’s Must Reads    — Review
6/6       A Novel Reality — Promo
6/7       The Page Unbound       — Excerpt #2
6/8       Byers Editing Reviews & Blog     — Review
6/9       Country Girl Bookaholic — Author Interview #2
6/10     The Librarian Talks        — Review

 

 
 
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Author Interview: With THIS Ring?

  With THIS Ring?
A Novella Collection of Proposals Gone Awry
by
Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, 
Regina Jennings, and Melissa Jagears
Genre: Romance, Humor
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Date of Publication: January 5, 2016
# of pages: 368


Love isn’t always a fairy tale, and it doesn’t always go as planned. Sometimes the best stories, though, are the ones that are the most unexpected. Join Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings, and Melissa Jagears for novellas that celebrate the power of love to triumph . . . even when circumstances go awry!

 

The Husband Maneuver

 

When ranch foreman Daniel Barrett seems ready to leave her life forever, Marietta Hawkins decides to grab the reins on their relationship. But to have any hope of maneuvering him into a proposal, she has to act fast or risk losing him completely.

 

Her Dearly Unintended

 

Josiah Huckabee just wanted to make sure Katie Ellen Watson was safe, but when the only bridge to her farm is washed out, the two find themselves alone. Alone, that is, until a menacing stranger appears. Maybe by pretending to be newlyweds, they’ll save their reputations–but can pretending to be in love turn into the real thing?

 

Runaway Bride

 

Hired to help Carrie Halsey escape from a dangerous man intent on making her his wife, Big John Conroy never expected the job to interrupt his solitary Texas Ranger life. But now that he’s promised to keep Carrie safe, he discovers he may just want to make a few more promises.

 

Engaging the Competition

 

Harrison Gray and tomboy Charlotte Andrews have been rivals for years. With Charlotte intended for someone else, it seems they’ll never settle their differences until an accident changes things completely. When Charlotte breaks Harrison’s glasses–without which he’s nearly blind–she must help with his teaching position, and working together forces these former adversaries to reconsider everything.
PRAISE FOR WITH THIS RING:

“This quartet of authors consistently write with hilarity, warmth, and toe-curling romance. Their individual contributions to this entertaining collection hold true to form. Connealy tips her hat to long-time fans with a grin-inducing reunion and clever word-smithing. Witemeyer’s ingenious story-within-a story adds even more humor and drama to her contribution. Jennings and Jagears perfectly complete the ensemble with witty tales of friendship and breathless kisses.”—RT Book Reviews Top Pick

 

BUY THE BOOK

 

AMAZON      AMAZON KINDLE    BAKER BOOK HOUSE     B&N        KOBO

Karen Witemeyer: Winner of the HOLT Medallion and the Carol Award and a finalist for the RITA and Christy Award, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance to give the world more happily-ever-afters. Karen makes her home in Texas, with her husband and three children. Visit her website or connect with her on Facebook.
Mary Connealy: Mary Connealy writes “romantic comedies with cowboys” and is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. She has over half a million books sold. She is the author of the popular series Wild at Heart, Kincaid Brides, Trouble in Texas, and many other books. Mary lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy hero. Visit her website or connect with her on Facebook.
Regina Jennings: Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a history minor. She is the author of At Love’s Bidding and four other novels, and contributed a novella to A Match Made in Texas. Regina has worked at the Mustang News, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows. She now lives outside Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with her husband and four children. Visit her website or connect with her on Facebook.
 
 Melissa Jagears: Melissa Jagears, an ESL teacher by trade and the author of A Bride for Keeps, A Bride in Store, and A Bride at Last, is a stay-at-home mother on a tiny Kansas farm with a fixer-upper house. She’s a member of ACFW and CROWN fiction marketing, and her passion is to help Christian believers mature in their faith and judge rightly. Visit her website or connect with her on Facebook.
GIVEAWAY! FOUR COPIES OF THE BOOK!
February 5-18, 2016
(Winners must have US mailing addresses)

 

AuthorInterview

SPOTLIGHT: Author Interview: Melissa Jagears

 

What literary character is most like you?

I am a female Mr. Darcy. I remember totally understanding him and wondering what was wrong with all the other characters who thought he was awful. Then one day, a friend asked me who I was character-wise from Jane Austen’s novels and I was trying to mesh Lizzy and Elinor and finally gave up and picked a male character, Mr. Darcy. Later, I learned that my Myers-Briggs personality type is the one attributed to Mr. Darcy (and Jane Austen herself!). I was just so excited to find my first INTJ character in literature who was NOT the villain…well, at least the people who mattered most figured out he wasn’t the villain before the end. 🙂

 

What did you find most useful in learning to write? What was least useful or most destructive?

The most useful tool I found in learning to write was serious, professional writers who exchanged work with me in a group. Having a critique group was very eye opening to things I couldn’t see myself. I could read writing craft books, understand the examples even, but having someone point out where I failed and how to fix it was beyond helpful. Plus, in a group, after I critiqued someone’s work, I’d read what others had to say and see what they caught that I didn’t, which honed my eye even more to finding craft problems in my own work.

 

I think the least useful was putting my story into a critique group one chapter at a time without having a clear idea where I was going with the story or having written the entire thing first. For when someone suggested a fix to a problem, I’d feel compelled to go that way and so, it began to feel like it wasn’t my story. The next book, I did a fast rough draft of the whole thing first before putting it into the critique group. Then when a critter gave me a suggestion, I could either disregard it because I knew my way was better or the advice didn’t mesh with my vision, or I would snatch it up and use it because it was way better than what I had come up with myself!

 

Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?

I’m a part-time writer. I’m a stay-at-home mother and homeschooler to little ones. That’s why I write after everyone goes to bed; it’s the only time I have to myself, so I’m writing from 10pm to 2am. Sometimes I’m up until 4am on deadline! I’ve always wondered if I’d write better if I slept more. Hopefully someday I’ll find out!

 

Do you have any strange writing habits you wouldn’t mind sharing with readers?

Whenever I’m stuck on what to write next, I take a shower. I can think better there for some reason. It’s dangerous to take a shower right before I intend to go to bed because then I usually have to go “back to work” to put down all the new ideas. Perhaps it’s not more sleep that I need to be a better writer, but a bigger budget for hot water.

 

What is something you want to accomplish before you die?

Raising children to become adults of integrity.

 


Check out these other great blog stops on the tour!

2/5      The Crazy Booksellers – Promo

2/6      Missus Gonzo – Author Interview

2/7      Books and Broomsticks – Promo

2/8      My Book Fix Blog — Review

2/9      The Page Unbound – Author Interview

2/10   Because This is My Life Y’all – Guest Post

2/11   Texas Book-aholic — Promo

2/12   The Librarian Talks – Author Interview

2/13   All for the Love of the Word — Review

2/14   Hall Ways Blog — Review

 
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