COTT: Bitterroot Bride by Angela Breidenbach

Posted by Julie on June 22, 2016 in COTT, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini |


beautifully spun story about the power of second chances.
~ Amazon
I loved The Bitterroot Bride! The part where she compares
to riding a trot made me laugh out loud. ~A.

About the book:
No one knows the real Emmalee Warren, just what they want from the infamous
prostitute. Men are coming out of the woodwork to stake a claim on the
miner’s widow. They wanted her body before. Now they want her money. Hiring
a lawyer, Richard Lewis, to save her from financial ruin might let her
start over where no one knows Miss Ellie. Becoming an unknown is the only
way to freedom…or is it? Can she leave her past and build a new
Chat with Angela:
Ques: We heard there was something special that happened to you
while writing your fourth book in the historical romance series, Montana
Beginnings. What was special about the Bitterroot Bride heroine for
Angela: Writing Miss Emmie learning to read became an amazing
experience. Though I’d learned to read at four, I didn’t understand how to
connect and read people until well into my adulthood. So while Miss Emmie
became proficient in reading, I became proficient in relationships. She’d
eat up every book she could get her hands on and studied with intensity. I
did the same thing, but about relational topics.
Ques: When did you realize the parallel character arc had so much in
common with your real life?
Angela: About halfway through the first draft an epiphany happened.
I stopped, took a day or so to really think about my personal experience,
then began an intentional focus on writing the emotional parallel.
Ques: What do you hope Bitterroot Bride does for readers?
Angela: I hope this story is both entertaining and encouraging. I’d
like readers to absorb the idea that like Miss Emmie and me, if you have
the desire to learn something then you can. Age doesn’t matter.
Ques: Can you tell us the titles and a little about the Montana
Beginnings series?
Angela: All four titles are set in Helena, MT from 1889 – 1895. It’s
right when we became a state, but mining couldn’t support us forever. The
Debutante Queen introduces us to Calista who steals an orphan off the
street to protect her from a cruel master. Eleven Pipers Piping brings
forward the newsies, newspaper boys and orphan train leftovers, into
Mirielle’s classroom. Then in Taking the Plunge, Delphina takes us back to
the iconic Broadwater Natatorium as a swim instructress. Then Emmalee
enters the scene as we find out how Montana chose her state flower. Each of
these lovely Victorian ladies finds her true love while carving out a
meaningful life in Montana’s frontier.
About Angela:
Angela Breidenbach is a bestselling author and host of
Grace Under Pressure Radio on iTunes. Angela is the Christian Author
Network’s president. And yes, she’s half of the comedy duo, Muse and
Writer, on social media.
Connect Here:
Website: http://www.AngelaBreidenbach.com
Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest: @AngBreidenbach

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COTT: Salsa and Speed Bumps by Susan M. Baganz

Posted by Julie on April 11, 2016 in Julie Arduini |
One moment of sin leads to a path of pain . . . and unexpected

Welcome to Stephanie and Roberto’s story! They have serious chemistry, but
how many hurdles can they overcome? Both fun and deeply moving, this book
will engage you from the start. Here’s what readers have to say:

Fantastic read. Riveting from cover to cover. Susan has great storytelling
skills that speak volumes. Although the book itself is fiction it did bring
to the forefront the reality and seriousness of human trafficking.
Althea Zamzow (Amazon Review)

This book skillfully handles many issues
in today’s society: date rape, addiction to pain killers, kidnapping, human
trafficking, and the mafia. The well-written story keeps the reader on the
edge of their seat and the book is hard to put down. How much more can
Robbie and Stephanie take before they’re broken apart by life’s

Victoria Pitts Caine (Amazon Review)

Listen in on a conversation from the book:

“Christmas is just around the corner.”
“Really? I hadn’t noticed.”
“Come on, dad and I didn’t do too bad getting a tree up and decorated.”
“You did a fine job. Much better than I could have managed with my bulging
belling getting in the way.”
“I happen to be fond of your bulging belly. Reminds me of Santa Claus.”
“Very funny.” She snuggled up to Robbie’s side. “If you had a wish for
Christmas, what would it be?”
“That forty years from now I would be as in love with you as I am
Stephanie smiled. “I like that.”
“Did you have Christmas wish?”
“Mine wasn’t big enough.”
“What was it?”
“Really? You will laugh at me.”
“Really, I want to know.”
“I want a puppy.”
“A puppy.”
“Yes, a puppy.”
“We may need to wait awhile for that one. Dogs are not allowed on our
“I know, but you asked. Wishes don’t have to be realistic.”
“No, they don’t. But how about I lick your face and pant in your ear. Will
that do in the meantime?”
Stephanie grinned and gave her husband a kiss, “Oh, that will do.”

So where did this story come from?

Susan, can you tell us what inspired you to write Salsa and Speedbumps?

The title was suggested by a friend after I wrote the first draft of Pesto
& Potholes. I hadn’t really thought of writing a second novel but
figured Renata’s roommate, Stephanie, who seemed to have things all
together, might need to have her world shaken up a bit. I also knew someone
who had been a victim of a date rape but those were words not really used
much years ago. She kept the baby, met a great guy, became a Christian and
married after the child was born. He adopted the little girl. And Roberto .
. . well, I had to get some salsa in there somewhere so having a Hispanic
character seemed a good way to do that along with busting some stereotypes
about that culture in the process. Roberto’s back issues . . . well, I’ve
struggled some with that but have known people with far worse pain like
what he experiences . . . so he struggles with an issue many people have
but don’t talk about, intense pain while recovering from an addiction to
narcotics. The story became far more intense than I ever anticipated too
and the heat between Roberto and Stephanie starts to build pretty early in
the story.

The bigger question other than the issues was how does a Christian woman
and man stay true to their faith and have integrity when life throws
curveball after curveball their way. How do they navigate a relationship in
the midst of those trials as well? It was fun to explore.


About the book:

Salsa and Speedbumps by Susan M. Baganz

Stephanie’s life hits a speedbump in the wake of her boyfriend’s sin.
Splitting up with him, she faces a future of difficult choices shaded in
shame. She wants to do what is right but the new man in her life leaves her
fantasizing about a future that is now beyond her grasp.

Roberto finds his heart and professional world turned upside down by the
beautiful bombshell. He struggles with his own inner demons and past so
he’s not about to cast stones. When he is accused of immoral behavior, and
temptation haunts him from every side, can he stand true to the calling God
has given him?

Joining forces to face the future though comes at a high cost for them both
as their individual pasts rise up to destroy them and their relationship.
Integrity comes with a high price tag. With a deep faith in God and the
help of friends at Orchard Hill Church, can they find happiness and love
they long for?

Find the book on Amazon

Meet the author:

Susan M. Baganz chases after three Hobbits and is a native of Wisconsin.
She is an Acquisitions Editor with Prism Book Group specializing in
bringing great romance novels and novellas to publication. Susan writes
adventurous historical and contemporary romances with a biblical

Susan speaks, teaches, and encourages others to follow God in being all He
has created them to be. With her seminary degree in counseling psychology,
a background in the field of mental health, and years serving in church
ministry, she understands the complexities and pain of life as well as its
craziness. She serves behind-the-scenes in various capacities at her church
as well as on the board of the local ACFW (American Christian Fiction
Writer’s) chapter. Her favorite pastimes are lazy ones—snuggling with her
dog while reading a good book, or sitting with a friend chatting over a cup
of spiced chai latte.

You can learn more by following her blog www.susanbaganz.com, her twitter
feed @susanbaganz or her fan page, www.facebook.com/susanmbaganz/me

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Book Review/Movie Promotion: Captive by Ashley Smith

Posted by Julie on August 26, 2015 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |


CAPTIVE, based on a miraculous true story that drew the attention of the entire nation, is a thrilling drama about the spiritual collision of two broken lives.  When Brian Nichols – on the run as the subject of a city wide manhunt and desperate to make contact with his newborn son – takes recovering meth addict Ashley Smith hostage in her own apartment, she turns for guidance to Rick Warren’s best-selling inspirational book, The Purpose Driven Life.  While reading aloud, Ashley and her would-be killer each face crossroads where despair and death intersect hope.  


The movie stars David Oyelowo, who played Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the recent film, Selma.

Click HERE for a special greeting from David Oyelowo

I remember Ashley Smith’s story well. She was the single mom who was held hostage in her home and read The Purpose Driven Life to her captor. She went from victim to instant hero with an onslaught of publicity. It was obvious she wasn’t comfortable with the attention and as time went on, I heard bits and pieces of her story. She was a recovering addict. She didn’t even have custody of her daughter. And then, the story disappeared.

Captive is a haunting read because in Ashley’s words, she re tells her story and puts the reader right there in the apartment with her. I was completely absorbed into the story and read it in an evening. As the scenario unfolds it is obvious God had His handprints all over this. It’s amazing for all the places Brian Nichols went, he arrived at Ashley’s neighborhood. She was in the process of unpacking. She was new. Faith was a very new thing for her and it was her lifeline. But she had a plan B. She still had a stash of drugs.

I loved Captive because it’s an intriguing story that shows what God can do with a willing vessel. What I found surprising was she didn’t read a lot of The Purpose Driven Life to him. I had the impression she read chapter after chapter. I came away thinking God guided her conversation. She kept talking to him. He was a churched man. And that’s what made his story so sad.

I Googled the two to see “where are they now?” Ashley is married with two more children. It appears as if she is doing well and is active in her relationship with Christ. Brian Nichols? I see no mention that he transformed for the better after all the conversations he shared with Ashley.

This is going to be a major movie this month and I believe it will be not only solid entertainment, but a solid message, too. Captive, the book, was. I hope you read it.





To Purchase Captive by Ashley Smith, click here.

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Book Review: The Doctor’s Second Chance by Missy Tippens

Posted by Julie on May 26, 2015 in Book Review, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

51WqUE3R3oLBook Description:

The Bachelor’s Baby 

Jake West’s troubled cousin leaves him with a most unusual parting gift—her newborn baby girl! And now the small-town contractor is forced to seek help from the very woman he resents—the new big-city pediatrician who practically stole his uncle’s practice, Violet Crenshaw. Violet knows she shouldn’t be consorting with the enemy. But she can’t resist the adorable baby and her handsome new caretaker. Violet traded her chance at motherhood for her career years ago. But raising a family with Jake could be everything she’s ever wanted.

This is one of six books sent to me from the Love Inspired Line as part of their Mother’s Day promotion. The books are on sale from April 21-May 28.



The Doctor’s Second Chance wastes no time starting the story with action and conflict. Jake’s a bachelor’s bachelor with work deadlines when his troubled cousin leaves her baby with him with little hope she plans to return. Jake has no idea how to handle a baby. Not even how to feed or place one in a car seat. He’s so desperate he has to visit the doctor he let the community know hurt his uncle and aunt in a business transaction.

Violet’s hurt that Jake worked so hard to damage her reputation but she’s focused on setting up a good practice. When he comes in with a baby in tow she has to set aside her anger and help. What she doesn’t count on is finding reasons to keep visiting. Both Abigail and Jake mean a lot to her.

But a lot of mystery surrounds Jake’s cousin and they all might be in danger. And Violet has a secret that no matter how many times Jake tries to understand her background, she’s not willing to share the details. Will they overcome the obstacles?

I loved The Doctor’s Second Chance. The author did an amazing job creating a hero to root for. Jake wants to keep his promise to his cousin but he’s not equipped. Jake’s compassionate and the transition Jake and Violet go through from enemies to friends is a natural one. Violet also is compassionate despite her desire to stay business-minded. I really enjoyed their journey. This was a fast read and an entertaining one. I think you’ll agree.

To purchase The Doctor’s Second Chance, click here.

I received The Doctor’s Second Chance from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: Brush with Love by Rachel Hauck

Posted by Julie on January 21, 2015 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |



Book Description:

Ginger Winters is a gifted hairstylist with scars no one can see. The last thing she expects from the New Year is a new chance at love.

Overcoming a childhood tragedy, Ginger emerges from the pain and trauma with a gift for bringing out the beauty in others. From the top big city salons to traveling the world as personal stylist to a country music sensation, success was almost enough to make Ginger forget she would never be one of the beautiful people.

that girl, forever on the outside looking in. But she needs her confidence this weekend. She’s the acclaimed “beauty-maker” for the Alabama society wedding of the decade.

When high-school crush Tom Wells Jr. also returns to town and shows up at her shop looking for a haircut, Ginger’s thinly veiled insecurities threaten to keep her locked away from love, Despite Tom’s best efforts, Ginger can’t forget how he disappeared on her twelve years ago and broke her heart. Can she ever trust him again?

When Tom challenges her to see her own beauty, Ginger must decide if she will remained chained to the past or move freely into a new, exciting future.


Brush with Love is a sweet novella with a message all readers need to receive. Ginger has literal scars and doubts her beauty. She’s had a hard childhood on top of it, and learns something about her family that makes life seem even harsher. Tom is the man that tries to convince her she’s beautiful, but he’s a part of her past emotional scars.
I enjoyed this novella. It’s a quick read with an unusual secret that adds conflict to the story. I loved the message of beauty and worth, and as a bonus, there is also a redemption message between mother and daughter.
I believe romance readers will enjoy Brush With Love, too.
To purchase Brush with Love, click here.
I received a copy of Brush with Love from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: Feast for Thieves by Marcus Brotherton

Posted by Julie on October 3, 2014 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Life Lessons, surrender |

91NFpHoGmUL._SL1500_Sergeant Rowdy Slater is the most skilled-and most incorrigible-soldier in Dog Company, 506th PIR, 101st Airborne, an elite group of paratroopers fighting for the world’s freedom in World War II.

Through a bizarre set of circumstances, Rowdy returns to the States after the war, turns his life around, and falls into the only job he can find-preacher at the sparsely populated community church in Cut Eye, Texas, a dusty highway town situated at the midpoint of nowhere and emptiness.

The town’s lawman, suspicious that Rowdy has changed his ways only as a cover up, gives an ultimatum: Rowdy must survive one complete year as Cut Eye’s new minister or end up in jail.

At first Rowdy thinks the job will be easy, particularly because he’s taking over for a young female missionary who’s held the church together while the men were at war. But when a dark-hearted acquaintance from Rowdy’s past shows up with a plan to make some quick cash, Rowdy becomes ensnared due to an irrevocable favor, and life turns decidedly difficult.

Rowdy’s a man used to solving problems one of two ways: with his rifle or with his fists. Will he be able to thwart his old friend’s evil schemes while remaining true to his new higher calling?

This is a wild ride of a book bursting with a bank robbery, kidnapping, desperate prayers, and barroom brawls. Before the smoke clears, all sides just might end up getting exactly what they want.

Marcus Brotherton is a new name to me and as an avid reader, I’m ashamed to admit that. Feast for Thieves is his debut fiction work.

This story starts with action and doesn’t let up. Rowdy is a WWII vet down on his luck when an opportunity to turn things around comes up. He ends up as Reverend Rowdy and he, nor the people of Cut Eye, Texas, will ever be the same.

I didn’t know what to expect when I started Feast for Thieves. I don’t always love post WWII era books. Although I write in first person, it’s very hard to pull off. The voice has to be strong. Rowdy is a character I’m so glad is in first person POV. He’s a strong, multi dimensional character and the author painted an equally strong setting and secondary characters. There’s conflict, humor, bar fights, sermons you won’t forget, and everything in between. I read 2/3 in one evening and would have kept going had I not needed to be somewhere else.

I truly enjoyed Feast of Thieves, and I think you will, too.

To purchase Feast of Thieves, click here.

I received Feast of Thieves from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


c55771a88da016f00255d110.L._CB242860148_SL140_RO5,1,174,177,178,255,255,255,15_AA160_Marcus Brotherton is a journalist and professional writer known internationally for his books and literary collaborations with high-profile public figures, humanitarians, inspirational leaders, and military personnel. He has authored or coauthored more than 25 books.
Notable works include We Who Are Alive and Remain, a New York Times bestseller, A Company of Heroes, which ranked No. 1 in the country among World War II/Western Front books, and the widely-acclaimed Shifty’s War.
Marcus’ books have been praised by the Wall Street Journal, CNN, MSNBC, Entertainment Weekly, Associated Press, Booklist, Publishers Weekly and more. Critics have called Marcus’s books “…fascinating…” “…brilliantly arranged…” “…magical…” and “…refreshingly frank…”
He has been interviewed by the New York Times, Washington Post, BBC World Today, and The John Batchelor Show, and was featured in the documentary film A Company of Heroes, which aired on PBS stations around the country.
Collaborative works include projects with Lt. Buck Compton (one of the original Band of Brothers), apologist Dr. Ravi Zacharias, NFL quarterback Colt McCoy, psychologist Dr. Nancy Heche, fashion journalist Lauren Scruggs, Austin Stone pastor Matt Carter, Bronze Star winner Colonel Susan Luz, Alabama restaurateur Martha Hawkins, humanitarian Susan Scott Krabacher, speaker Dr. Bruce Wilkinson, youth ministry expert Doug Fields, radio show host Steven Arterburn, First Place weight loss program CEO Carole Lewis, musician Tommy Walker, youth speaker Ryan Dobson, university chancellor Rev. Wayne Cordeiro, and more.
Born in Canada in 1968, Marcus earned a bachelor’s degree in biblical education and journalism from Multnomah University in Portland, Oregon, and a master’s degree in practical theology and writing from Talbot Seminary at Biola University in Los Angeles, where he graduated with high honors.
Marcus lives with his wife and children in Washington State. More information about Marcus can be found online at www.marcusbrotherton.com

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