Dependence Day Giveaway!

Readers, I’d love to have you join me for a very special holiday tomorrow…Dependence Day!

What is Dependence Day, you ask? It’s a completely made-up holiday on July 3rd where we celebrate America’s former dependence on England. Strictly speaking, it’s less pining for the good ol’ days of British colonization and more about having an excuse to eat scones and drink tea, so if you’re an American, you can celebrate with your patriotism intact.

All that’s required is that you participate in some manner of vaguely British-themed activity, such as:

  • Using some Shakespearean insults.
  • Listening to the Beatles (or a more modern British band).
  • Planning a dream trip across the pond.
  • Searching the news for whatever the royal family is up to these days.
  • Watching Pride and Prejudice or anything BBC.
  • Reading a book set in England.

If that last one sounds perfect to you, we’ve got some great recommendations below for all you Anglophiles out there.

Set the Stars Alight by Amanda Dykes: Reeling from the loss of her parents, Lucie Clairmont discovers an artifact under the floorboards of their London flat, leading her to an old seaside estate. Aided by her childhood friend Dashel, a renowned forensic astronomer, they start to unravel a history of heartbreak, sacrifice, and love begun 200 years prior—one that may offer the healing each seeks.

The Bridge to Belle Island by Julie Klassen: While Benjamin investigates a mysterious death, evidence takes him to a remote island on the Thames. There, Isabelle is trapped by fear and has a recurring dream about a man’s death. Or is it a memory? When a murder brings everyone under suspicion, and the search for truth brings secrets to light, she realizes her island sanctuary will never be the same.

Line by Line by Jennifer Delamere: Years of hard work enabled Douglas Shaw to escape a life of desperate poverty—and now he’s determined to marry into high society to prevent reliving his old circumstances. But when Alice McNeil, an unconventional telegrapher at his firm, raises the ire of a vindictive co-worker, he must choose between rescuing her reputation and the future he’s always planned.

Vying for the Viscount by Kristi Ann Hunter (releases August 2020): When a strange man appears to be stealing horses at the neighboring estate, Bianca Snowley jumps to their rescue. And when she discovers he’s the new owner, she can’t help but be intrigued—but romance is unfeasible when he proposes they help secure spouses for each other. Will they see everything they’ve wanted has been there all along before it’s too late?

The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White: In the midst of the Great War, Margot De Wilde spends her days deciphering intercepted messages. But after a sudden loss, her world is turned upside down. Lieutenant Drake Elton returns wounded from the field, followed by a destructive enemy. Immediately smitten with Margot, how can Drake convince a girl who lives entirely in her mind that sometimes life’s answers lie in the heart?

To celebrate Dependence Day, we’re giving away the winner’s choice of one of the titles above. To enter, just comment with the answer to the question below: what would be a place in England you’d enjoy visiting? (Or have visited.) We’ll choose a winner next Thursday, July 9th.

The Bethany House Grand World Tour…and Giveaway!

Wouldn’t you love to travel? To see the bright colors of India, stare at the ancient architecture of Egypt, or eat Gretel cakes in a cozy little restaurant by the sea? Oh wait. That’s right—we’re all quarantined.

I for one haven’t left my house in twenty days—yes, you read that right, twenty—and I’m getting a little stir crazy. Am I the only one? I doubt it. In light of this, Bethany House brings you a Grand World Tour, compliments of our talented authors! (And if you’re interested enough to complete your journey, the covers are all linked to Baker Book House, running a 30% off and free shipping special for online orders!)

Our first stop is A Mosaic of Wings by Kimberly Duffy, which takes on a journey from Ithaca, New York to India and back again. The author draws on her own experience in that beautiful country to bring the setting alive. She makes it easy to wonder at the lush forests, colorful insects (don’t let that scare you), and strong Indian flavors right along with Nora, the main character.

Here is a sample of the exotic beauty found in A Mosaic of Wings:

“The oxen’s rumps swayed as they pulled the two-wheeled cart, which the driver had called a mattu vandi when he met them at the guest house in Madras. Above his head, Nora watched the dirt road wind into a copse of pine trees. All around them the hills dipped and lifted, disappearing into the hazy blue horizon toward the Nilgiri Mountains in the distance.

Nora raised off the floor a little. She could just spot the large lake thickly fringed by trees. Like jewels strung across a bangle, red-roofed houses crisscrossed the roads leading to and through the Kodaikanal hill station.”

A Mosaic of Wings by Kimberly Duffy

Setting: Kodaikanal, India, July 1885

 

Next we have the West Indies in 1776, brought to you by Lisa Bergren. In her novel, Selah, the Caribbean comes bursting into full color and warmth, which is especially refreshing on these cool spring days. Who wouldn’t want to journey to this paradise? Although, as you will see if you read it, Selah is in for her own bit of world-changing drama.

Take a short excursion to Selah’s Caribbean home:

“Vervet monkeys chattered at them from the sprawling branches of a purple-flowered jacaranda tree, seeming to complain about the horses’ sudden appearance in their midst. A bird swooped overhead, crying out with his particular singsong call as if to make sure they admired his green, red, and gold breast. The wind rushed in gusts through the ferns and palms on either side of them. Selah closed her eyes and inhaled deeply, taking comfort in the sounds and sights of the island that had become her home.”

Selah by Lisa Bergren

Setting: West Indies island of Nevis, 1776

 

Leaving the lush greenery behind, we travel to Egypt, where Leif Metcalfe is trying to unscramble the mystery of his past. Not only does Kings Falling take us to the sand of Egypt, it is a world tour in itself, stopping in Africa, China, Taiwan, Afghanistan, The Netherlands, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Maryland, and Virginia.

But for our tour, we will only stop in Egypt:

“Crouched atop the mountain peak, he stared out over the rugged terrain. And that was putting it mildly. The ridges in this section of the Sahara Desert were serrated and forbidding. If you fell, you fell to your death. To his three were the glittering waters of the Red Sea. He shook his head. If he and his team had headed east, they’d have found water. Civilization. But they’d chosen the mountains for protection from the sun, heading south, then west.”

Kings Falling by Ronie Kendi

Setting: Jabal Shaib al-Banat, Egypt, present day

 

Heading back to the United States and a cooler climate, we come to Alaska. In Under the Midnight Sun, we see the proud face of mount Denali and all the flora and fauna surrounding him through the eyes of one of the first women naturalists, Taylor Hale.

Here is our sample of Alaskan beauty:

“Denali stood tall and fierce in the distance. Covered year-round in snow, today was a rare day when the High One allowed people to see him in his glory. A thin halo of clouds wrapped around his crown. The contrast of the massive mountain against the brilliant blue of the sky was glorious.

The air was still as everyone took in the grandeur before them. Lush valleys lay below them, covered in grasses of varying shades of green, the deep, almost black color of the spruce, and a riot of colorful wild flowers. Rivers snaked their way through the landscape like pathways leading to the great mountain. Thomas spotted the area where the Kahiltna Glacier cut its way down the mountain. Was there anywhere on earth that could compare to this? Was this what heaven would be like?”

Under the Midnight Sun by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse

Setting: Curry, Alaska, 1929

 

Remember those Gretel cakes I mentioned in the beginning? Well, we have finally come to the cozy little town by the sea where you can eat them to your heart’s content! Or at least read about eating them. The little town, weathered by the ocean and filled with lobstermen and history, has captured many hearts.

Here is your first taste of this idyllic town:

“And there it is. Down the green hill, the harbor curves in a smile. White houses dot the coast, where all is quiet, save the steady lap of waves. Offshore, a scattering of islands trail into the sea, right up to where the two peninsulas come together in a near-embrace around the protected cove. This is what makes this place a haven. Sailors seek it out as a “hurricane hole,” a place to anchor until fierce storms pass, protected as it is.”

Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes

Setting: Ansel-by-the-Sea, Maine, present day

That concludes our Grand World Tour. We hope you enjoyed it and will continue to discover the beauty of far-off places from the safety of your home!

We know that there are so many books we could have included on this list, but we’ll leave that to you! To win one of the books included on this list (your choice), comment with another book with a setting you’d love to visit. I’ll choose three winners on April 16th.

Christy Award Finalist Giveaway

Next month, it’s time for the Christy Awards in Nashville! You can see all of the fantastic finalists here, or on the Christy Awards Instagram account, but here at Bethany House, we like to celebrate upcoming awards with a giveaway of our finalists for readers who might not be able to walk down the red carpet and join the celebration. (Although you should come some year…it’s really fun!)

Here are the Bethany House award finalists and their books:

Falling for You by Becky Wade

Shelter of the Most High by Connilyn Cossette

A Defense of Honor by Kristi Ann Hunter

Mind Games by Nancy Mehl

The Christmas Heirloom – finalist novellas are A Shot at Love by Sarah Loudin Thomas and Legacy of Love by Kristi Ann Hunter

The Mark of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse

The Wounded Shadow by Patrick W. Carr

We’re giving away one of each of these books to our readers! Winners will be randomly chosen on Monday, October 28 and contacted via email.

To enter, just do two things: make sure you’ve followed this blog, and then comment with an answer to this question: if you could create a fake fiction award (like “Best Opening Line” or “Top Books with Dogs on the Cover”), what would it be?

Carol Finalists Giveaway!

Some of the Bethany House team are headed to the American Christian Fiction Writers conference today, and one of the highlights is the Carol Award ceremony on Saturday night. To celebrate with our authors who are finalists, we thought it would be fun to host a giveaway of those titles, pictured below.

A Light on the Hill by Connilyn Cossette

Mind Games by Nancy Mehl

The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond by Jaime Jo Wright

Mark of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse

To enter, comment on this post with what you love about Christian fiction. We’ll pick two random winners for each book on Tuesday, October 1.

Seaside Books Giveaway

We stole this idea from Amanda Dykes, who was a guest on a podcast episode of Read-Aloud Revival, talking about various writerly things, but also recommending some favorite seaside-set books.

We figured, why not do a blog post featuring beach reads—meaning books with actual beach-like words on the cover. We expanded it to include recent titles with a water-related word in the title. Here are a few of them:

The Ebb Tide by Beverly Lewis
Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes
To the Farthest Shores by Elizabeth Camden
The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond by Jaime Jo Wright
The Lady of Tarpon Springs by Judith Miller
The Killing Tide by Dani Pettrey
Between Two Shores by Jocelyn Green
Far Side of the Sea by Kate Breslin
Waves of Mercy by Lynn Austin

(For a bonus, we found a few more that had a watery scene depicted on the front cover, just not in the title: Out of the Ordinary by Jen Turano, Keturah by Lisa Bergren, Shelter of the Most High by Connilyn Cossette, Flight of the Raven by Morgan Busse, Sweet on You by Becky Wade, and Traces of Guilt by Dee Henderson. We’re probably forgetting some!)

And just for fun, a giveaway! We’ll pick three winners on August 1 to win their choice of one of these seaside books. To enter, just comment on this post with a favorite watery vacation spot you’ve been to. (River, ocean, hot springs, indoor pool…anything goes!)

Book Giveaway and a Personality Quiz!

There are many things I love about my job, but near the top of the list is helping readers find a brand-new author. That’s why I’m excited that Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes entered the bookish world this month.

First Lines: “One minute a guy is splitting wood in the northeastern corner of the country, stomach rumbling and heart afire with ambition in the wake of his eighteenth birthday, and the next minute he’s pumping water from the old kitchen sink to clean the work off his hands and pick up a letter from the president of the United States of America himself. It lies there on the red, paint-chipped kitchen table, like an old friend who has let himself in and put his feet up, the most natural thing in the world. But it’s anything but natural.”

Plot Summary: In the wake of WWII, a grieving fisherman submits a poem to a local newspaper: a rallying cry for hope, purpose . . . and rocks. Its message? Send me a rock for the person you lost, and I will build something life-giving. When the poem spreads farther than he ever intended, Robert Bliss’s humble words change the tide of a nation. Boxes of rocks inundate the harbor village on the coast of Maine, and he sets his callused hands to work.

Decades later, Annie Bliss is summoned back to Ansel-by-the-Sea when GrandBob, the man who gave her refuge during the hardest summer of her youth, is the one in need of help. But what greets her is a mystery: a wall of heavy boxes hiding in his home. Memories of stone ruins on a nearby island ignite a fire in her anthropologist soul to uncover answers.

Together with the handsome and enigmatic town postman, Annie uncovers the story layer by layer, yearning to resurrect the hope GrandBob once held so dear and to know the truth behind the chasm in her family’s past. But mending what has been broken for so long may require more of her and those she loves than they are prepared to give.

To celebrate this debut novel’s release, we’re having some fun on the blog. First, take the personality quiz below that tells you which location in the charming town of Ansel-by-the-Sea best fits your personality.

Then, comment on this post with the location result you got from the quiz, and you’ll be entered in a drawing to win a copy of Whose Waves These Are! I’ll choose three winners by May 27, 2019. Have fun!

Character Name Giveaway!

Isn’t it fun to read a book and find a fictional character with your name? (Unless that fictional character is a nefarious villain, of course; that’s a different story.) Just for fun, I decided to list off the main heroines of our novels releasing from May 2018 to April 2019.

Want to enter a fun giveaway? Just comment on this post if you share a name with one of these characters. (Alternate spellings are accepted.) Or, since we know that will leave out a lot of our readers, you can also comment to tell us about a friend who shares a name with one of these characters. On Monday, March 18, I’ll choose two winners to receive the book with their name and another book of their choice.

Sophie: Lone Witness by Rachel Dylan

Willow: Falling for You by Becky Wade

Marianne: Together Forever by Jody Hedlund

Katherine (or Kit): A Defense of Honor by Kristi Ann Hunter

Rosalind: A Daring Venture by Elizabeth Camden

Mielle (or Michelle): King’s War by Jill Williamson

Evangeline: More Than Meets the Eye by Karen Witemeyer

Grace: The Best of Intentions by Susan Anne Mason

Kate: Dead Drift by Dani Pettrey

Annalise or Libby: The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond by Jaime Jo Wright

Judith: In Dreams Forgotten by Tracie Peterson

Temperance: Caught by Surprise by Jen Turano

Marie or Annie: A Simple Singing by Leslie Gould

Zanna: The Lady of Tarpon Springs by Judith Miller

Tzivia: Thirst of Steel by Ronie Kendig

Maggie: The First Love by Beverly Lewis

Kenzie (or Mackenzie): In Times Gone By by Tracie Peterson

Janelle, Tennyson, or Ruthie: The Cost of Betrayal by Dee Henderson, Dani Pettrey, and Lynette Eason

Evalina: An Hour Unspent by Roseanna M. White

Anna: Legacy of Mercy by Lynn Austin

Sarah, Ruth, Fleeta, or Maddie: The Christmas Heirloom by Karen Witemeyer, Kristi Ann Hunter, Sarah Loudin Thomas, and Becky Wade

Gwen: The Reluctant Warrior by Mary Connealy

Sofea (or Sophia): Shelter of the Most High by Connilyn Cossette

Nilda: A Season of Grace by Lauraine Snelling

Salome: Jerusalem’s Queen by Angela Hunt

Selene (or Selena): Mark of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse

Hattie: The Lieutenant’s Bargain by Regina Jennings

Kaely: Mind Games by Nancy Mehl

Jane or Mercy: The Bride of Ivy Green by Julie Klassen

Sophie: Searching for You by Jody Hedlund

Thea or Heidi: The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright

Tayler (or Taylor): Under the Midnight Sun by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse

Isadora: Flights of Fancy by Jen Turano

Daphne: A Return of Devotion by Kristi Ann Hunter

Leisel: A Faithful Gathering by Leslie Gould

Mia: Breach of Trust by Rachel Dylan

Catherine: Between Two Shores by Jocelyn Green

Eloise: A Desperate Hope by Elizabeth Camden

Penny: The Unexpected Champion by Mary Connealy

Johanna: Far Side of the Sea by Kate Breslin

Lizzy (or Elizabeth): When You Are Near by Tracie Peterson

Emmaline: The Highest of Hopes by Susan Anne Mason

Verity: Verity by Lisa Bergren

Cara: The Artful Match by Jennifer Delamere

Della: Outbreak by Davis Bunn

Sylvia: The Tinderbox by Beverly Lewis

Which book above has your (or your friend’s) name twin?

Thanks for the Challenge…and a Giveaway!

For those of you who’ve seen Bethany House Fiction on Instagram, you know we’ve been busy this month. Today marks the end of our “For the Love of Books” Instagram challenge. We posted a picture on a particular theme every day, and readers joined in with over a thousand entries during the month of February! We were stunned by your creativity…if you haven’t yet, you should take a look at all the bookish images we got to enjoy.

We’ll be choosing winners among the Instagram participants tomorrow after February is officially over, but here’s a special giveaway just for our blog readers to celebrate a successful Instagram challenge.

Just go to our Instagram profile and look over our February posts. Pick one that you especially liked, then come back and comment on this blog post with the reason why. We’ll choose a random comment on Monday, and that reader will win their choice of one of the books in the Instagram post they selected. (This is open to US and international readers.)

Thanks so much to all who participated…it’s been an extra-fun February with all the book love you put out there!

Join our February Instagram Challenge!

Here at Bethany House, we love books…and we know all of you do too! That’s why we’re launching our first-ever Instagram challenge. We’ll be posting a pretty bookish picture for every day of February based on a particular theme. You can see the lineup below.

Follow us on Instagram if you want to see what we come up with, and join in on whatever days you like by tagging us in your own bookstagram photos. (Find out how to do so by reading our original IG post.) We’d love to see social media feeds filled to the brim with great books.

On a personal note, I’ve been helping our lovely copywriter, Rachael, take several of these pictures. They’re SO FUN.

Hope you’re staying warm with a good book, readers!

Reading Challenge Giveaway

Regular blog readers will notice that we didn’t post a Reading Challenge as we usually do in January. That’s because our friends at Hope by the Book, who love Christian fiction, came up with one of their own. I liked it so much that I wanted to direct all of you to it. They have fun checklists (including different “levels”) for readers to participate in, along with some social media fun and interaction. You can check it out here.

 

In honor of this challenge, I thought we’d do a giveaway. Visit the Hope by the Book checklist, then come back here and recommend at least one book that fits one of the Avid Reader categories. (It doesn’t have to be a Bethany House book.) Next week, I’ll chose three commenters to win their choice of our January or February new releases to help them get started on their 2019 reading goals.

I’ll make a few suggestions first:

I could go on for days, but now it’s your turn. Look at the categories in the list and start recommending below. Be sure to tell us which category it fulfills!