Thursday, April 14, 2016

Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: More Than a Promise by Ruth Logan Herne

Genre: Christian, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Franciscan Media
Publication date: February 23, 2016
Number of pages: 292
"My Three Sons"... Naughty sons, at that!... meets "Sarah, Plain and Tall" in this delightful marriage of convenience story that shows how amazingly inconvenient love... and life... can be!

Widower Matt Wilmot is in trouble. His boys are causing chaos and wreaking havoc, his former mother-in-law is threatening to sue for custody, his father just had heart surgery and their family company is liable for a huge balloon payment on a loan his father took out to expand the business the previous year. But rain and illness took their toll, and Matt is having a rough time spinning multiple plates in the air. 
​But when he discovers Elle Drake next door, a woman with a wonderful hand at managing errant boys, cranky relatives, and frustrated men... Matt's world suddenly tips back into a more normal orbit. And when drastic measures are required, it's the girl next door who's there to save the day.

Elle Drake wanted nothing more than to create beautiful pottery and have a family, but when her millionaire husband publicly dumped the renowned artist for another woman, Elle moves back to Cedar Mills to start anew, the spinster artist with her big potting shed. But when her to-die-for good-looking neighbor thinks marriage is a good idea, Elle figures he's either crazy, desperate or right.

But a marriage of convenience can become its own conundrum, and when life takes sudden turns, can this marriage become all that they bargained for? And maybe more than a promise?
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​But Elle...
            Elle was amazing.  Elle made the boys laugh. She made him laugh. She made them think about things other than themselves. She made them cookies, made them work, and most of all, she expected them to rise to a challenge. To be good. To be kind.  And when they were around her, they tried to meet her expectations.
            Married. To Elle.
            He gripped her hand tighter as they made their way over to her house. His father moved ahead and Matt took advantage of the moment to slow Elle’s steps. “You seem to excel at getting me out of trouble.”
            Elle winced. “I couldn’t let her rake you over the coals like that. Who does that kind of thing, when someone’s house is burning down alongside them? Sorry.” She made a face of regret and sighed. “Now we’ll have to wiggle our way out of this and that’s going to be a tangle, but I figured it would quiet her down. And it did work,” she added with a quick, small smile.
            “What if we don’t wiggle our way out of this?”
            She tried to stop their progress, but Matt kept her hand in his and kept walking.
            “You said yourself it makes perfect sense.”
            “I said no such thing,” she hissed as they drew closer to the house. “We barely know each other.”
            He smiled into her eyes and saw the answering flicker of acknowledgment and interest. Real interest. “A lifetime gives us plenty of time for that, I guess.”
            “Are you crazy?”
            He was, kind of, because her off-the-cuff idea was growing in appeal. “Maybe. Or maybe you came up with the best answer possible.” They’d reached the door. He put a finger to his lips. “We’ll hash this out later.”
            “There is nothing to hash out.”
            He winked, because the more he thought about it, the more he liked the idea.
            “Matt, I—”
            He kissed her.  He kissed her long and slow and with a gentle firmness that said they had a lot to talk about.  Later.   And when he stopped kissing her, he cupped her face with his two hands and whispered, “That wasn’t so bad, was it?”
            It was wonderful and he knew it, which meant she should take him down a peg, but his parents were excitedly waiting inside her back door. “We’ll discuss this later.”
            He grazed one finger across her lips. “I’m looking forward to it.”
            Insufferable.  Confidence bordering on cockiness.  Righteously good-looking.  And he couldn’t possibly be serious. Could he?  One look at his face said otherwise 
​​I loved this book!!  I've always loved stories with single parents with precocious children and a love interest that can charm and handle those children.   This book has THREE children, all with different personalities, and Elle manages to charm them all.

I loved Elle's personality.  She's been so wounded but she's still a fighter and stands up for what she believes.  Although she hasn't had children of her own, she has worked with them and has a good grasp of how to teach them to behave and be respectful.  She's got a big heart when it comes to children.  And she has also not allowed her hurts to keep her from her artistry which the author describes wonderfully!   I wish I could buy some of her art! :)

I also loved Matt's character.  A single father with the huge responsibility of raising three boys as well as keeping his father's business afloat, Matt has a LOT to deal with.  He has a lot to learn when it comes to raising his boys and he's a little lost in trying to keep them out of trouble.  But he's a hard  worker and he loves his boys with his whole heart.  When he comes in contact with Elle, he's a little conflicted at first because she stands up to him about the boys' behaviour.  But he quickly changes his mind when they respond positively to her.  I loved how loving he is to Elle and how quickly he allows himself to fall in love with her.

There was so much to enjoy about this book.  Moments of hilarity as well as hair raising fear because of the antics of the boys.  Moments of tender family interactions as well as not-so tender family interactions.  And definitely moments of swoon worthy romance!  :)
*Thanks to SLB Tours for a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.  I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are my own.*

​Multi-published, bestselling author Ruth Logan Herne loves God, her family, her country, dogs, chocolate and coffee! A country gal with a heart for the big city, Ruthy likes nothing more than to write the kind of books she loves to read, and she's even more happy that now she gets paid to do it! She's been married for a Very Long Time and she and her husband Dave live on a small farm in upstate New York where lake effect snow buries them on a regular basis in winter. But that's all right... it gives her more time to write!
1. I have friends in the excavating business, and a comment they made once a long time ago, about how some folks figure they’ve got plenty of money, and put off paying them… so that became the reasoning behind the financial difficulties that raised up to trip up the company

2. Somewhere there are three boys who were the original three little boys who came into church SO RELUCTANTLY about six years ago, and inspired this book… and I hope they’re all well and happy!

3. The Polish aspects of Elle’s family were inspired by a wonderful wedding reception I attended years ago, where the ladies of St. Stanislaus’s Church did a Thanksgiving dinner, pass the plate at each table kind of meal, and it was marvelous! Wonderful turkey and stuffing, puddles of gravy and delicious cranberry sauce and homemade pickles. I love church dinners!

4. And at that same wedding, I made the wedding cake, drove it hours to the reception and a layer CRACKED…. Luckily I had made an extra layer (just in case!) and I took the broken layer out, slipped the extra layer in, frosted, decorated and used real red roses to give a “cascade” effect, and NO ONE KNEW A THING!!!!! Yes!

5. The three boys were actually based on two brothers and a sister I’ve had in daycare/after school care for years… Amos is based on Casey, when she was little, and my readers see Casey on my facebook page, on my blog, and in Yankee Belle Café because she’s my “mother’s helper” now and helps on the farm in the summer. And she’s ALMOST DONE WITH HIGH SCHOOL so you can see that life has moved on since I wrote “More Than a Promise”, LOL!

6. Sarah, Plain and Tall is one of my favorite children’s stories, and I used that premise to write an adult version in “More Than a Promise”. If you’ve never read “Sarah, Plain and Tall”, you should… it’s just a wonderful marriage of convenience story set in the early 1900’s. I love it!

7. I love heroes that work with their hands… and guys with big equipment are as happy as little boys with Tonka Trucks until they break! And then they are GRUMPY. If you’re wondering about farmers, insert “tractor” for “backloader” or “grader” and you get the same result! And don’t talk to these men about weather!!!!! EEEK!

8. I love the church setting in Cedar Mills. The fun of older Catholic churches is how the church may reflect the ethnicity of the immigrants who came here with nothing, but pooled together to explore and expand their right to practice their faith freely. Neighborhoods were often defined by these beautiful churches and the congregations that flocked there weekly and daily.

9. I’m always amazed at how pockets of art can bring mass appeal. I wanted Elle’s work to be that way, based on a Thomas Kincade-type fame. Her longing and love came through her work and appealed to the masses, the “you and me” types. But there’s a downside to some of that because “true artistes” often find fault with commercial art, and abandon their friendships. Is it jealousy? Or disregard?

10. And finally… The spray-painted dog is a real thing. It happened a long time ago, and it wasn’t one of my kids (although it could have been!) and it took a long time for that dog’s fur to grow out. But… it did. Eventually!

​Favorite quote:  “Plenty of time for rest in the grave” (Ben Franklin) AND “No one can make you feel inferior without your permission” (Eleanor Roosevelt)

Favorite book:  Christy by Catherine Marshal and “Sweet Hush” by Deb Smith

Favorite soda: Diet Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash!!!!!
     **Ruth, that's so cool!  I've never known anyone else who loved this soda like I do!  - Rachel :D**

Favorite dessert: Pie. And more pie. And Tina Radcliffe’s Coconut cake.

Favorite flower: All. All, all, all, in the north we appreciate flowers like no one else can!

Favorite season: Fall. Gorgeous up here, and I love the busyness of pumpkin season and veggies and fall colors!

Favorite movie: Ooo…. So many. “Remember the Titans” and “The Princess Bride” and “It’s a Wonderful Life”

Favorite T.V. series: NCIS (there is really no other answer that should be considered, is there? I mean, GIBBS??? HELLO???????)

Favorite country you want to visit: Ireland

Favorite comic book character: Snoopy. He’s such an in-your-face brat dog, he and I would get along just fine!