Sleep deprivation must be an ancient form of the cruelest punishment. And one of the hardest things I’ve gone through. I’ll spare you the gory details and suffice it to say that my babies went through a long, messy phase and I was an angry zombie.

I didn’t do much besides stay afloat…but somehow there was a little time for books. And thank God for that. Being honest, I was in rough shape. I wasn’t praying. I wasn’t reading my Bible.

I didn’t want to.

Still, God had a message for me through the fictions I read. Each of these novels spoke to me, encouraged me, convicted me. And they meant so much that I want to give you a chance to win one of the following (or a single title in the If I Run series) as an ebook.

Not all of these books are strictly romance, but (if you read the back covers it’s not a spoiler to say) they all have strong romantic elements.

So browse the titles, explore the links, and leave a comment below with your email and the ebook you’d like to win.

Luther and Katharina, by Jody Hedlund

Why I read it: This was a 2016 Christy Award winner and Reformation history fascinates me.

Why I loved it: The history didn’t disappoint, but also—the romance! A nun and a monk who’ve vowed off romance, marriage, and family discover that God may have different plans for them. Now what do they do with their growing feelings for each other?

Writer’s takeaway: The author painted Luther and Katharina as equally sympathetic and deeply flawed. I rooted for them to succeed and to change—something that makes interesting, three-dimensional characters.

Homestands, by Sally Bradley

Why I read it: Sally is a fellow American Christian Fiction Writers KC West chapter member and I enjoyed reading her first novel, Kept.

Why I loved it: Forgiveness is a tough brick to swallow, and the book wasn’t afraid to get down to business. The message of the novel doesn’t shy away from (without glorifying) the messiness of sin in all shapes and sizes. What is glorified in this story? The power of Christ to transform a life.

Writer’s takeaway: The reviews. Holy freaking cow. I remembered Sally mentioning at a chapter meeting that she’d gotten some negative feedback, so after reading the book I checked out her one-stars on Amazon and Goodreads. A writer’s gotta have thick skin! You can’t maker everyone happy, but a faith-based writer who chooses to tackle tough issues really really can’t make everyone happy. Truth isn’t about happiness though. Can I get a witness?


Count Me In, by Mikal Dawn (which just made the short list for the 2018 INSPY Awards for Debut Fiction—Congrats, Mikal!!)

Why I read it: Mikal is a fellow blogger at Romance Readers’ Café, and the story looked like a fun time.

Why I loved it: I’ve had “Fear Is a Liar” by Zach Williams on replay for a while. And then I heard NEEDTOBREATHE’s “Walking On Water.” And then I read Mikal’s novel, and I identified with elements so much more than I cared to. The what if’s in life are paralyzing. The many forms of fear are deceptive. But God is not the one who kills, steals, and destroys! He is the one who upholds, sustains, carries, and rescues (Isaiah 46:3-4 for those who need some meditation time).

Writer’s takeaway: Setting! Readers enjoy an escape—give them someplace fun, exciting, and refreshing. Seattle made it to my bucket list of places to visit. And I drank (and craved) so much coffee while reading this book.

Lady Jayne Disappears, by Joanna Davidson Politano

Why I read it: I stumbled across a blog interviewing the author on her debut novel and was so inspired by her commitment to the Lord and family, first and foremost. As a mom of little ones (close to the same age as the author’s), I wanted to celebrate the triumph of her first published novel.

Why I loved it: I didn’t need to read the blog to know that the author has a real and deep connection with Jesus Christ. You can just tell when an author’s faith is genuine. But the mystery, the romance, and the overall storyline was simply delightful.

Writer’s takeaway: The twists and turns kept me engaged throughout the book. Something in each chapter took me by surprise. I had to keep turning pages to see what would develop next.

If I Run Series, by Terri Blackstock

Why I read it: If I Run was a 2017 Christy Award winner, and the cover just said, “I’m gonna keep you on the edge of your seat!” I continued reading the series because…wow.

Why I loved it: You jump right into the action. The pace is fast. The threat is real. But I was so caught up in the story that the message blindsided me—hard. I can choose to be miserable, or I can choose to look for God. I can focus on every (very real) problem, or I can focus on thankfulness.

Writer’s takeaway: The author’s notes at the end of the first book had me in tears. All through the series the author doesn’t skimp on the fact that life gets messy. In fact, hardship is a promise. I hate that Christians have bought the idea that we deserve all kinds of physical blessings if we do it all right. That only leaves us feeling like we’ve messed up when the road gets rough. It’s my deepest hope and prayer that God breathes stories to life in me that take readers on a wild ride, and then slam us both (author and reader) with the truth we need right in that moment.

Have you read any of the above books? What did you think? Don’t forget to leave your email and the ebook you’d like to win 😊


By day, Kelly D. Scott is buried in Excel spreadsheets, which is why she must write.

She graduated from Texas A&M University with a BBA in Accounting and, almost ten years later, she completed her MS in Accounting at UT Dallas. She wrote her first manuscript in 2017 when a photo in People magazine sparked an idea. 130,000 words later, that book is parked safely under her bed.

Kelly resides in the Dallas area with her illustrator husband (whom she met on Eharmony) and her two boys. She has lived in Texas all of her life, except for two and a half years when she was a missionary in China and Thailand. Oh, and she did spend a summer as a missionary in Australia where she learned how to do the Tim Tam slam. When Kelly isn’t writing or lost in Excel, she enjoys reading, cooking, baking, watching football, and spending time with her family. She is a member of ACFW.