Wednesday, February 24, 2021

ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT by Tara Johnson, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney and Winnie Thomas

“Just do the next thing.”

Set mainly in Washington, D. C. during the Civil War, All Through the Night is a vivid and compelling depiction of the trials and afflictions people lived through then. I was impressed by the rich historical detail of the author and the multi-layered, realistic characters she created. The two main characters, Cadence Piper and Joshua Ivy, were both flawed and had things from their past that they needed to overcome. Cadence was a plucky, competent, determined heroine working to overcome her stutter and the feelings of inadequacy she had. Joshua was heroic, compassionate, and courageous, and I enjoyed seeing their relationship evolve and grow.

Filled with adventure, intrigue, romance, and inspiration, this story is sure to please those who enjoy historical romance. I’m looking forward to more stories from this author. 4.5 stars
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Tyndale Publishers through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

"Find out what task Providence has ordained you to do and then do it."

"I fear there may be no task for me." Endeavoring to prove herself worthy of her father's attention, Cadence Piper has long thought that her life would never amount to much, having been misdiagnosed as mentally simple due to a childhood speech malady that had all but corrected itself. When casualties from the Civil War begin pouring into Washington, D.C. she valiantly applies for a nursing position with the famed Dorothea Dix. Told that she was "too young and too pretty", she finds another way to serve the needs of her increasingly despondent city . . . with her voice.

Dr. Joshua Ivy is curious about the "songbird" that has slipped her way into his hospital, administering water, kind words, and lovely melodies. After having previously misjudged her based solely on her lovely appearance and large street audience, he finds Cadence to be anything but self-serving, in fact she's the total opposite; putting the needs of others well before her own. In spite of the draw between them, he cannot afford attachments, for his periodic clandestine activities would put her in great danger, she wouldn't understand, and he could never forgive himself if she was harmed by association. His enemies are ruthless and have eyes roaming everywhere through-out the city.

On one hand, this is the sweetest of love stories between two wounded souls working feverishly to erase misconceptions and sadnesses of their pasts that were no fault of their own. On the other hand, it's a sobering expose of the horrors of war, exposing the atrocities of our country's one civil war that was brutally fought both on and off the battlefields. Thank goodness we are under the watchful eye of the One who never slumbers nor sleeps, "all through the night".

"Sleep, my child, and peace attend thee,
All through the night.
Guardian angels God will send thee,
All through the night." . . . .
*I purchased this book and was under no obligation to provide a review. 3.5 stars 
BackCover Blurb: 
With her stammering tongue and quiet ways, Cadence Piper has always struggled to be accepted. After the death of her mother, Cadence sets her heart on becoming a nurse, both to erase the stain her brother has left on the family’s honor and to find long-sought approval in the eyes of her father. When Dorothea Dix turns her away due to her young age and pretty face, Cadence finds another way to serve . . . singing to the soldiers in Judiciary Square Hospital. Only one stubborn doctor stands in her way.

Joshua Ivy is an intense man with a compassionate heart for the hurting and downtrodden. The one thing he can’t have is an idealistic woman destroying the plans he’s so carefully laid. When the chaos of war thrusts Cadence into the middle of his clandestine activities, he must decide if the lives at stake, and his own heart, are worth the risk of letting Cadence inside.

Everything changes when Joshua and Cadence unearth the workings of a secret society so vile, the course of their lives, and the war, could be altered forever. If they fight an enemy they cannot see, will the One who sees all show them the way in the darkest night?

Tyndale House Publishers,  January 2021
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and audiobook:

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

SHADOWS OF THE WHITE CITY by Jocelyn Green, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas

Jocelyn Green has once again penned a magnificent historical fiction tale—this time about the Chicago World’s Fair in the summer of 1893. I love how she entertains with a story while giving fascinating background on historical events and places. Filled with colorful, realistic, and engaging characters that come alive on the pages, this book kept me turning pages far past my bedtime. While the story evolves mostly on the relationship between Sylvie Townsend and the Polish immigrant girl, Rose Dabrowski, she has taken in as raised as her daughter, there is an added romantic element involving Kristof Bartok, a musician who seeks to help Sylvie when Rose disappears while at the Fair.

Green’s impeccable research, combined with her brilliant gift for storytelling made this a book bound for my keeper shelf. With lots of suspense, intrigue, a dash of romance, and inspiring truths woven through it, this tale has something for everyone. Themes of finding oneself, changing dreams, and trusting God give added depth and dimension.

“Just because you can’t control everything doesn’t mean it isn’t being handled. Trust the One who is far better at orchestrating every detail than we could ever be.”
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishers. All opinions are my own.

See Paula's and Rebecca's Reviews

BackCover Blurb:
The one thing Sylvie Townsend wants most is what she feared she was destined never to have--a family of her own. But taking in Polish immigrant Rose Dabrowski to raise and love quells those fears--until seventeen-year-old Rose goes missing at the World's Fair, and Sylvie's world unravels.

Brushed off by the authorities, Sylvie turns to her boarder, Kristof Bartok, for help. He is Rose's violin instructor and the concertmaster for the Columbian Exposition Orchestra, and his language skills are vital to helping Sylvie navigate the immigrant communities where their search leads.

From the glittering architecture of the fair to the dark houses of Chicago's poorest neighborhoods, they're taken on a search that points to Rose's long-lost family. Is Sylvie willing to let the girl go? And as Kristof and Sylvie grow closer, can she reconcile her craving for control with her yearning to belong?

Bethany House Fiction, February 2021
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:

FOREVER PHOEBE by Chalon Linton, Reviewed by Kim

Forever Phoebe is my first Chalon Linton book. I really enjoyed this fun romance. Franklin is a perfectly wonderful, charming, and brave match for Phoebe who is quite the adventurer. I really enjoyed how their relationship grew. 

The banter between Phoebe’s brothers was actually my favorite part of this story, though. It was spot on! The mystery aspect of the story was just enough to add interest without taking away from the fun banter and romance! If you’re in the mood for a fun light read, this is the story for you!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book. This is a clean read.

BackCover Blurb:
At the dignified age of eighteen, Phoebe Jamison knows she should behave in a manner befitting her station, as her three loving elder brothers often tease. Unfortunately, the lively young woman has a personality every bit as fiery as her red hair, a fact brought to her attention in the criticism from the gentleman she has long pined for. But not every man is of the opinion that a woman should be decorous above all else. The newest resident of Somerset, Mr. Franklin Everly, is considered a most eligible bachelor, and he is immediately drawn to Phoebe’s spirited nature as he becomes acquainted with the delightful Jamison siblings of Primly Park.

Franklin embarks on a friendship with Phoebe that quickly deepens into a warm and thrilling connection. But even as he fights for Phoebe’s attentions, a very real danger is revealed: girls in neighboring villages have gone missing, and the kidnapper is moving ever closer to Primly Park. Despite the guard of her fiercely protective brothers and Franklin, Phoebe must rely on her own strength when she finds herself in the sights of the Bride Snatcher.

Covenant Communications, February 2021
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and audiobook:

Monday, February 22, 2021

OBSESSION by Patricia Bradley, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise

What a difference ten years makes after the disappearance of her twin brother Ryan. But maybe not. Emma Winters still does not know what happened to Ryan. And to make things more complicated, she has to team with ex-fiancé, Sam Ryker when someone shoots at her.

Ms. Bradley does an excellent job of keeping you on your toes with the intriguing premise and just hinting at who the culprit might be. Is Emma’s stalker a killer too? Sam tries to keep her protected as their feelings shoot to the surface again and they dig into their pasts.

It was hard to put this book down, a real brain workout. And the romance was just right. The theme of forgiveness and mending family estrangements shine through. The setting of the Natchez Trace and the Mount Laurel Visitors Center is described wonderfully to catch you interest. The author writes a spectacularly creepy villain and you’ll be scratching your head to figure out who he is.

This second book of the Natchez Trace Park Rangers is dramatic. I cannot wait for book three.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell on behalf of the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*5 stars and a strong faith thread. 
BackCover Blurb:
Natchez Trace Ranger and historian Emma Winters hoped never to see Sam Ryker again after she broke off her engagement to him. But when shots are fired at her at a historical landmark just off the Natchez Trace, she's forced to work alongside Sam as the Natchez Trace law enforcement district ranger in the ensuing investigation. To complicate matters, Emma has acquired a delusional secret admirer who is determined to have her as his own. Sam is merely an obstruction, one which must be removed.

Sam knows that he has failed Emma in the past and he doesn't intend to let her down again. Especially since her life is on the line. As the threads of the investigation cross and tangle with their own personal history, Sam and Emma have a chance to discover the truth, not only about the victim but about what went wrong in their relationship.

Award-winning author Patricia Bradley will have the hairs standing up on the back of your neck with this nail-biting tale of obsession, misunderstanding, and forgiveness. 
Revell Publishing, February 2021
Available in digital ebook, paperback and hardcover:
Buy Obsession at Amazon
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Buy Obsession at Baker Book House

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