Friday, July 31, 2020

A GILDED LADY by Elizabeth Camden, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas

With a stunning cover and a cast of colorful, multi-layered characters, this book swept me away to Washington, D.C. in 1900 and right into President McKinley’s administration. Caroline Delacroix is a courageous, independent, assertive heroine who also happens to be the secretary to First Lady Ida McKinley. When the new head of the president’s Secret Service team arrives, sparks fly. Nathaniel Trask is dedicated, job-oriented, and straight-forward as he devotes himself to making sure President McKinley is safe at all times. Can a relationship develop between these two?
Elizabeth Camden’s attention to historical detail and masterful character creation, as well as her intricate plot development, make this an intriguing, powerful look at this slice of American history. I love learning more about history while reading an absorbing story.

This is the second book in Camden’s Hope and Glory series and can be read alone, but do yourself a favor and read book one, The Spice King, first. I’m enjoying this series so much, and I’m anxiously awaiting the next book about Caroline’s twin brother, Luke. Bound for my keeper shelf, this will easily be on my list of favorite books for the year.

*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from the author and Bethany House Publishing. All opinions are my own.

See Nicole Cook's Review
See Paula Shreckhise's Review

Back Cover Blurb:
Caroline Delacroix is at the pinnacle of Washington high society in her role as secretary to the First Lady of the United States. But beneath the facade of her beauty, glamorous wardrobe, and dazzling personality, she's hiding a terrible secret. If she cannot untangle a web of foreign espionage, her brother will face execution for treason.

Nathaniel Trask is the newly appointed head of the president's Secret Service team. He is immediately attracted to Caroline's quick wit and undeniable charm, but his job leaves no room for distractions. Anarchist plots have led to mounting threats against the president, forcing him to put duty before his growing love for Caroline.

Amid the glamorous pageantry of Gilded Age Washington, DC, Caroline and Nathaniel face danger and heartbreak that shakes them to their core and tests all they know about love and sacrifice.


Available in digital ebook, paperback, and hardcover:

Buy A Gilded Lady at Amazon
Buy A Gilded Lady at Christianbook.com

Thursday, July 30, 2020

START WITH ME by Kara Isaac, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas

I was so excited to read another Kara Isaac novel and could hardly wait to get my hands on this one. Her books are witty, hilarious, touching, and always a treat to read. I love her sense of humor, her creative settings and characters, and the ability she has to run the reader through the gamut of emotions—from laughing out loud to heartache.
The two main characters in this story are very realistic, endearing, and relatable, and I quickly found myself rooting for Lacey and Victor. Their flaws and personal histories make them so human and lovable that the reader laughs and cries right along with them. Isaac’s quirky, sometimes snarky, but always fun sense of humor adds so much to the story and makes for some laugh-out-loud scenes and visual images.

There are also tender, uplifting messages of redemption, forgiveness of self and others, honesty, grace, and healing that add emotional depth to the story. I loved Victor’s determination to put his mistakes behind him and change his life for the better.

“Sometimes it’s hard to accept that others have changed.”
“. . . you gave me the gift of not throwing my past back in my face. Nobody has done that for me before. Not ever.”

This book is bound for my keeper shelf along with this author’s other books. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy contemporary romance with wit and heart. 
4.5 stars. 
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from the author. All opinions are my own.

BackCover Blurb:
Lacey O’Connor is finally a sure thing for the promotion she’s spent ten years working for. But when a scandal rocks her firm she finds herself on a collision course with the one person she has spent five years trying to forget. Only to discover he doesn’t even remember her…

Victor Carlisle has spent the last three years trying to convince his family he’s no longer the playboy alcoholic who tore their life apart. When a company merger is announced with a US sister firm, he’s presented with the perfect opportunity to prove he’s changed. Only to find himself falling for his competition and the one woman his family will never accept.

As the competition intensifies the choice looms between the professional and the personal. Can they find a way beyond their past decisions and present aspirations to take a chance on the one thing they’re not looking for?


Bellbird Press June 2020
Available in digital ebook and paperback:
Buy Start With Me at Amazon

 

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

SET THE STARS ALIGHT by Amanda Dykes, Reviewed by Winnie and Paula

WINNIE'S REVIEW:
Amanda Dykes has once again written a magical, delightfully exquisite split-time novel that completely captivated me. With a setting in England and two stories aligning in different centuries—early 1800s and contemporary—the author has masterfully unfolded the stories layer by layer until they meld together perfectly for a powerful ending.

The characters are carefully drawn, realistic, and very endearing, and the stellar cast of secondary characters adds to the mystical charm of the tale. Richly painted settings, descriptive storytelling, and fascinating historical insight brought the story to life. The author’s lyrical, poetic prose enchanted me with its beauty and brilliance.

“Outside, the air slapped his cheeks with coolness and cleared his head.”

“And now . . . it felt like home again. Because family, gathered from odd corners of the earth and pieced together in growing friendship, was here.”

“This was a place of impossible. And what a beautiful impossible it was.”

There is a great spiritual depth to this book, with themes of Biblical truth, family, hope, healing, and the worth of a single soul. I found myself highlighting sentences and whole paragraphs, and when I finished, I immediately wanted to read it again to savor it and find the hidden layers.

“A single life can make more of a difference than we can possibly imagine.”

“In a world as dark as this, people forget how to see the light, so we need to remind them by telling the truth, paying attention. . . setting the stars alight.”

This author’s debut book, Whose Waves These Are, was my favorite book from last year. I’ve recommended it to countless people and even bought several copies to give for gifts. I’m sure Set the Stars Alight will be one of my top reads from this year. It’s bound for my keeper shelf. For a delightful, enchanting, beautifully written story, you’ll want to grab this one and savor every word.

*1 gave it 5 stars. I had a NetGalley copy but ended up purchasing my own print copy. It has a fairly strong organic faith element, but not preachy. This will definitely be one of my top books of the year.


PAULA'S REVIEW:

Wow! Just Wow! After reading the debut book by this author, I was anxious to dive into this one. It certainly is on par with that excellent book.

This is an achingly beautiful story that has echoes of The Great Shepherd, The One who would give his life for his friends, and The Almighty God of the universe!

Simon Claremont has given his daughter, Lucy, the gift of stories, puzzles and riddles all containing Biblical Truth. He tells her: Don’t forget it, Lucy my girl. The God of the stars...He is coming, and coming, and coming after you. Always. The heart of a father who will never forget his daughter.

The two main characters in the present are Lucy and Dash. The name Lucy means light and she is the perfect complement to Dash who seeks out light from the stars in the darkness of night. They are childhood friends. Lucy loves the sea and all the mysteries it holds. Dash loves the night sky with its vastness and stars. In adulthood, they team together to puzzle out a legend of the ship Jubilee and the traitor Fredrick Hanford who disappeared during the Napoleonic wars. This makes for an engrossing story that blends present with the past in a profound way. The author drops clues along the way and it all plays out to perfection.

The lessons Lucy and Dash learn are for us, too. In the words of Simon to Lucy and Dash:

“Nothing is impossible.Just think. Pay attention. Stretch forward. 


"When things seem dark, Lucy, that is when you fight for the light. I think it is the duty to keep the stories, to pass them on. It is our duty- and our honor. 

"In a world as dark as ours, people forget how you see the light. So we remind them by telling the truth, fighting the dark, paying attention...setting the stars alight. There are things shining brightly all along, if we will notice.”

This is a story to savor and mine for deep spiritual truths. The settings are captivating, the characters inspiring, and the story mesmerizing. Worth much more than 5 stars.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House on behalf of the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.* 5 stars. Strong spiritual thread. 


BackCover Blurb:
Lucy Clairmont's family treasured the magic of the past, and her childhood fascination with stories of the high seas led her to become a marine archaeologist. But when tragedy strikes, it's Dashel, an American forensic astronomer, and his knowledge of the stars that may help her unearth the truth behind the puzzle she's discovered in her family home.

Two hundred years earlier, the seeds of love are sown between a boy and a girl who spend their days playing in a secret sea cave, while the privileged young son of the estate looks on, wishing to join. As the children grow and war leads to unthinkable heartbreak, a story of love, betrayal, sacrifice, and redemption unfolds, held secret by the passage of time.

As Lucy and Dash journey to a mysterious old estate on the East Sussex coast, their search leads them to a community of souls and a long-hidden tale that may hold the answers--and the healing--they so desperately seek.


Bethany House Publishers June 2020

Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:
Buy Set the Stars Alight at Amazon
Buy Set the Stars Alight at Christianbook.com

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

FLIGHT RISK by Cara Putman, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise

Technology, legal expertise, a newspaper expose and murder leave many questions to be answered.

This is a complex story with layered characters and a theme of Truth that is woven throughout.

Savannah Daniels is dealing with a case that takes all her concentration, until personal concerns get in the way,issues that pique her resolve to protect her niece, Addy.

Journalist, Jett Glover, who strives for the truth, has written an article about Dustin Tate, Savannah’s ex-husband, that is threatening to complicate her life. They reluctantly work together to solve an evolving mystery.

This is a craftily written plot with a little romance for good measure. It has an underpinning of faith in God by the principle characters that asks us to think very carefully before we judge others.

Well done by a master of romantic suspense, Cara Putman.
*I won this book from Kav Rees of Best Reads Blog. All opinions are my own.*5 stars Strong faith thread. 


See Rebecca Maney's Review

BackCover Blurb:
Bestselling author Cara Putman returns with a romantic legal thriller that will challenge the assumptions of truth tellers everywhere.

Savannah Daniels has worked hard to build her law practice, to surround herself with good friends, and to be the loyal aunt her troubled niece can always count on. But since her ex-husband’s betrayal, she has trouble trusting anyone.

Jett Glover’s father committed suicide over a false newspaper report that ruined his reputation. Now a fierce champion of truth, Jett is writing the story of his journalism career—an international sex-trafficking exposĂ© that will bring down a celebrity baseball player and the men closest to him, including Savannah’s ex-husband.

When Jett’s story breaks, tragedy ensues. Then a commercial airline crashes, and one of Savannah’s clients is implicated in the crash. Men connected to the scandal, including her ex, begin to die amid mysterious circumstances, and Savannah’s niece becomes an unwitting target.

Against their better instincts, Jett and Savannah join ranks to sort the facts from fiction. But can Savannah trust the reporter who threw her life into chaos? And can Jett face the possibility that he’s made the biggest mistake of his life?


Thomas Nelson Publishing, April 2020
Available in digital ebook, paperback, library binding and audiobook:
Buy Flight Risk at Amazon
Buy Flight Risk at Christianbook.com
 

Monday, July 27, 2020

POPPY'S PROPOSAL by Tara Grace Ericson, Reviewed by Kim Ann #ReleaseDay

I am really enjoying this series by Tara Grace Ericson! I love her writing style! I love the Bloom family and their farm and I love getting to know each family member through their individual story as well as their siblings’ stories.

This is a modern marriage of convenience story - my favorite storyline! Usually, marriage of convenience storylines are in historical novels, so I was especially interested to see how this was handled. One thing that really made this work for me was that Harrison and Poppy were friends in high school, so they married as friends and their relationship grew from there. Needless to say, I was completely satisfied with this story and how it ended.

I am looking forward to reading the rest of this series. If you’re looking for a fun light read, this story, this series actually, is it!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. All opinions are my own. The faith element in this story is light.


BackCover Blurb:
She vowed he would never hurt her again.
He hides his pain behind a campaign smile.

Harrison Coulter is in the spotlight. Rumored to be the next candidate for governor, there is just one problem – the people won’t elect the most eligible bachelor to the state’s highest office. He needs a wife, but he isn’t looking for love.

There is one woman from his past though…

Poppy Bloom has roots as deep as the produce she grows on Bloom’s Farm. When her livelihood is threatened and she finds herself helpless to make a difference, Poppy agrees to a proposal she never saw coming.

Old feelings blossom into something new, but their individual goals clash with the promises made to each other. How will God use this marriage that was strategized instead of starry-eyed to open them both to the power of love?


Available in digital ebook and paperback:

Buy Poppy's Proposal at Amazon

Sunday, July 26, 2020

MOLLY by Sarah Monzon, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"Don't fall in love with the family you work for."

A nanny's number one rule, right? If it were only that easy. . . . . since the "family" includes one #doctorswoony and his beautiful little girl.

When Molly Jane Osbourne's compulsive honesty pushes her a bit too far, she suddenly finds herself dutifully unemployed. Dr. Ben Reed, the father of one of Molly's used-to-be students, is having a terrible time juggling single fatherhood with his unpredictable hours as a medical resident, so after overhearing Molly's rather awkward termination conversation, he suddenly finds himself re-employing her as his daughter's nanny.

And that's how it all began. Molly is certainly sunshine on a cloudy day that Ben never remembered waking up to; but can she, would she, could she . . . become more?

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." - Dr. Seuss

What a fun story!
*3.5 stars I purchased a copy and was under no obligation to provide a positive review.


See Nicole's Review too!
 
BackCover Blurb:
If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I absolutely refuse to tell a lie no matter the consequences. So don’t ask me a direct question unless you’re prepared for a direct answer—that’s something my SoCal sewing girlfriends have learned the hard way.
 

But who would have thought my honesty policy would get me fired from my job at the preschool? Or that a desperate—and not to mention devastatingly handsome—single father of one of my (now-former) students would hire me that same day as a nanny for his daughter?
 

I’m an education professional. How hard can taking care of a four-year-old and her over-stressed, over-worked father be?

Available in digital ebook, paperback, and audiobook:
Buy Molly at Amazon

 

Saturday, July 25, 2020

THE CHISHOLM TRAIL BRIDE by Kathleen Y'Barbo, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise

This story is a great Western yarn that starts and ends on the Chisholm Trail. Eliza and Wyatt are childhood friends. An incident breaks them apart but they do not forget each other. A little deception, a few lies and the past looms.
The characters are well developed. Eliza is a bit headstrong and can make snap decisions. Wyatt is patient and has made a career for himself as detective John Brady. A likable secondary character is barely out of the nursery cousin Justine who follows Eliza around. She is nosy and proves that sometimes eavesdropping can be helpful.

The book would not be complete without a little mystery, excitement and romance, which are all done in a fresh way. I did not see some things coming! A very enjoyable book from the Daughters of the Mayflower series.
*I purchased a copy of this book. All opinions are my own.*I give this 5 stars. Light but strong faith thread. 


BACK COVER BLURB:
A Series for Lovers of History, Adventure, Romance, and AncestryBarbour Publishing offers a series for fans of all things related to history, romance, adventure, faith, and family trees.
Stubborn Hearts Clash on a Cattle DriveEliza Gentry’s pursuit of marriage to the son of her family’s sworn enemy has cost her greatly. Furious at his daughter’s choices, her father sends her off with the cattle drive heading toward Fort Worth and the Barnhart ranch, but under the watchful eye of Wyatt Creed, a Pinkerton man he has hired to see to her safety. With danger at every turn—not the least of which to his heart—can Wyatt Creed keep his focus with Eliza Gentry around? Is the Chisholm Trail a place for falling in love or a place to die at the hands of cattle thieves?

Join the adventure as the Daughters of the Mayflower series continues with The Chisholm Trail Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo.


Barbour Publishing March 2020
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and library binding:

Buy The Chisholm Trail Bride at Amazon
Buy The Chisholm Trail Bride at Christianbook.com





More in the Daughters of the Mayflower series:
The Mayflower Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1620 Atlantic Ocean (February 2018)
The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo – set 1725 New Orleans (April 2018)
The Captured Bride by Michelle Griep – set 1760 during the French and Indian War (June 2018)
The Patriot Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1774 Philadelphia (August 2018)
The Cumberland Bride by Shannon McNear – set 1794 on the Wilderness Road (October 2018)
The Liberty Bride by MaryLu Tyndall – set 1814 Baltimore (December 2018)
The Alamo Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo – set 1836 Texas (February 2019)
The Golden Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1849 San Francisco (April 2019)
The Express Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1860 Utah (July 2019)
The Rebel Bride by Shannon McNear – set 1863 Tennessee (December 2019)
The Blizzard Bride by Susanne Dietze – set 1888 Nebraska (February 2020)

Friday, July 24, 2020

DON'T KEEP SILENT by Elizabeth Goddard, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise

Trouble seems to follow the McKade brothers, considering their occupations in law enforcement and Liam is no exception. In fact, investigative reporter, Rae Burke, and Liam were in much danger in the operation that made Liam want to retire from the DEA. Close encounters with evil go hand in hand with those who choose to help others. But some things you DON’T KEEP SILENT.
Rae is looking for her friend, sister-in-law, Zoey. She enlists help from Liam and they find themselves getting deeper in a mystery. It is hard to know who to trust and how to keep loved ones safe. The McKade family and Rae and her brother clearly rely on God to see them through tough times.

This was a riveting read that did not let up on the excitement. In addition, you could almost see the beauty of the Wyoming mountains, feel the bite of the snowy winter weather and hear the whine of the snowmobiles. It was a page turner that was easy to get caught up in.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Reads Blogger Program. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.* 5stars Strong faith thread


See Trixi's Review!
See Nicole's Review!

BackCover Blurb:
Justice comes easy for these two. But forgiveness? That's another matter altogether.

Investigative reporter Rae Burke will do anything to find her missing sister-in-law, even if it means facing Liam McKade, a man who almost lost his life saving hers. A former DEA agent, Liam thought he could find peace at his Wyoming ranch, but he doesn't feel at home anywhere anymore. When the reporter who blew his cover on an important investigation inserts herself back into his life, he's less than thrilled. But Rae's keen investigative skills have led her down the right path--and directly into the dragon's mouth--leaving Liam no choice but to protect her.

As the danger increases, the past they both tried to flee catches up to them, along with the feelings they once had for each other . . . 


Revell Publishing, June 2020
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:
Buy Don't Keep Silent at Amazon
Buy Don't Keep Silent at Christianbook.com

Thursday, July 23, 2020

LINE BY LINE by Jennifer Delamere, Reviewed by Paula Shreckhise

Jennifer Delamere has started a new series with Line By Line. It is set in Victorian England in the offices of Henly and Company. The story follows Alice McNeil. She is a modern Miss trying to prove that women can do a good job in the workplace. Alice can support herself; she has no need to pursue a marriage match. Until she meets fellow telegrapher and her supervisor, Douglas Shaw.

This was an interesting mix of history and budding romance. Ms. Delamere is very adept at incorporating facts and tidbits into her stories. She conveys her character’s feelings in a relatable way. One tool she uses is a volume called The Spinsters Guide to Love and Romance, based on a real book of the era. This little tome could get Alice into all kinds of trouble. It was fascinating to see how Alice used the advice contained in it.

A character who makes an appearance is Andrew Carnegie. Ms. Delamere used his own words to show his faith and the reason for his philanthropy. Mr. Carnegie counsels Douglas to put his priorities in the right order. There are lessons for us all. Another character I enjoyed was Miss Templeton, a former teacher who Alice visits to get some perspective.

I look forward to reading the rest of this series to see what other trouble the little advice book can stir up.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*I give this book 5 stars. Strong faith thread


BackCover Blurb:
Alice McNeil resolved at a young age to travel through life unencumbered by love or marriage, free to make her own decisions. A seasoned telegrapher, she's recently acquired a coveted position at an important trading firm, but when the company's ambitious junior director returns to London, things begin to change in ways Alice could never have imagined.

For Douglas Shaw, years of hard work and ingenuity enabled him to escape a life of grinding poverty. He's also determined to marry into high society--a step that will ensure he never returns to the conditions of his past.

He and Alice form a friendly relationship based on mutual respect, but anything deeper is not in their plans. However, when Alice accidentally raises the ire of a jealous and vindictive coworker who's intent on ruining her life, Alice and Douglas are forced to confront what is truly important in their lives. Will their growing bond give them the courage to risk finding a better way?


Bethany House Publishing, June 2020
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:
Buy Line by Line at Amazon
Buy Line by Line at Christianbook.com

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

READY TO TRUST by Tina Radcliffe, Reviewed by Trixi and Nicole #ReleaseDay


TRIXI'S REVIEW:
“Family. Heritage. Ancestry. It means a lot. It's what defines our identity and unites us. It's what kept the Rainbolt kids together in hard times.”

Reece Rainbolt certainly has an appreciation for family, especially after both his mother's death and his younger brother Levi's. It's what made him want to be a better man than he was when he first met Claire years ago. Running the Rainbolt Ranch has given his life new meaning and seeing whatever he put his hand on succeed has given him a pride in what the Lord has given him. Even with the successes, he's humble and does what needs doing. When he finds out he's a father to Claire's daughter Zoe, he feels an instant bond to the bright five-year-old. He bereaves the years he's missed and wants a second chance to be the kind of father he never had in his own life. If only Claire would let him!

“There was a time she would have done anything to have Reece Rainbolt's undivided attention. Those days were long gone.”

I've never been a huge fan of keeping a baby or child secret in a story. But Tina Radcliffe gave Claire good reason and handled this delicate subject with grace. I just wished Claire would have been more open to giving Reece a chance to be a father to Zoe sooner! The past has tainted her view of him and it takes time and trust to come to a point where she feels comfortable. I really did like seeing the character growth in her along with the ability to forgive and eventually forge a new bond with Reece. Zoe was such a cutie, you can't help but fall in love with her yourself! She's just like any other bright, precarious and curious five-year-old girl who stole the show for me. Reminds me of my own granddaughter, really! I love this second chance romance full of forgiveness, strong family bonds between the Rainbolt family, all sprinkled with faith to ground them. It was awesome to see the story unfold; I really admire Tina Radcliffe's writing and how she can make a story seem real. Can I be adopted by the Rainbolts?

“Never underestimate the power of a God who knows the desires of your heart.”
*I received a complimentary copy from the author and wasn't obligated to leave a favorable review. All opinions are my own. *

NICOLE'S REVIEW:
Is it getting hot in here or is that just Reece Rainbolt??!! At first glance, readers will immediately be drawn to the handsome and charming Reece Rainbolt featured on the cover. Once you stop staring at the cover and begin reading this fabulous contemporary romance, Reece Rainbolt will undoubtedly steal your heart. Ready to Trust is the second book in author Tina Radcliffe’s Hearts of Oklahoma series. It can easily be read as a standalone, but you will also want to read Finding the Road Home (book #1) to learn oldest brother Mitch Rainbolt’s story.

Handsome cowboys, small town charm, and strong family bonds… Author Tina Radcliffe pens a heartwarming tale sprinkled with humor that is sure to be a favorite among her readers. This is Tina Radcliffe at her best.

Discovering he is a father to former neighbor Claire Ballard’s five-year-old daughter leads Reece and Claire on a surprising journey of forgiveness and second chances. I loved everything about this book, and I wish I could be part of the Rainbolt family and live on Rebel Ranch!

If you are a fan of the irresistible Ty Porter from Becky Wade’s Porter family series, then you are guaranteed to love Reece Rainbolt! Ready to Trust is highly recommended for readers of inspirational contemporary romance.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine.

BackCover Blurb:
Proving he’s a changed man could be his biggest challenge yet.

Rancher Reece Rainbolt’s shocked to learn he’s inherited half of Claire Ballard’s family farm—and that he’s a father. Now Claire’s determined to break ties with the man who once left her behind. But Reece will buy her half only on one condition: she must stay in town to help with the harvest…and let him get to know his little girl.


Harlequin Publishing July 2020
Available in digital ebook, paperback, mass-market paperback:
Buy Ready to Trust at Amazon
Buy Ready to Trust at Christianbook.com

About the Author:
Tina Radcliffe is the American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award-winning author of inspirational romance. She is an ACFW and Romance Writers of America Honor Roll member, and a four time ACFW Carol Award finalist. Tina is the author of fifteen inspirational romances for Harlequin HarperCollins.


Monday, July 20, 2020

SAVE THE DATE by Jenny B. Jones, Reviewed by Kim

This is only my second Jenny B. Jones story and I’m hard pressed to explain why! I really enjoy her sense of humor and her writing style. I laughed out loud more than once while reading this story! My favorite trope is “marriage of convenience,” so “engagement of convenience” is right up my reading alley!
I am very heroine-picky. There are few female characters that I can immediately name that I love, but I can say that I loved Lucy! I loved her heart for her girls home, her character growth, her sarcastic witty one liners that were always at the ready, and how she worried about the lies told while pretending to be engaged to Alex. Alex had me at quarterback! Yes, I can be shallow like that! 😂 But seriously, I loved how he grew during his relationship with Lucy and who he really was when we got to see what was beneath the “playboy” reputation that he had.

I really loved this story and I’m looking forward to reading the next story in that series.
*I bought this book, and was under no obligation to provide a positive review. I’d say the faith element was light. 


BackCover Blurb:
You are cordially invited to the wedding of the year with the most unlikely bride and groom. Save the date . . . and say your prayers.
When funding for Lucy's non-profit job is pulled, she is determined to find out why. Enter Alex Sinclair, former professional football star and heir to Sinclair Enterprises—the primary donor to Lucy's non-profit organization.

Both Lucy and Alex have something the other desperately wants.

Alex has it all . . . except for the votes he needs to win his bid for Congress. Despite their mutual dislike, Alex makes Lucy a proposition: pose as his fiancĂ©e in return for the money she desperately needs. Bound to a man who isn't quite what he seems, Lucy finds her heart—and her future—on the line.

Save the Date is a spunky romance that will have readers laughing out loud as this dubious pair try to save their careers, their dreams . . . and maybe even a date.

Thomas Nelson Publishing January 2011
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and hardcover:
Buy Save the Date at Amazon
Buy Save the Date at Christianbook.com

Sunday, July 19, 2020

BRIDE OF CONVENIENCE by Jody Hedlund, Reviewed by Kim and Paula

KIM'S REVIEW:
I have really been enjoying The Bride Ships series by Jody Hedlund. I love the originality in these stories and the setting. Jody Hedlund is an excellent writer and you are always quickly drawn into her stories. I also love how her stories are inspired by history.

It took me a minute to warm up to Zoe, but once I did, she became my favorite character in this story. She was a perfect minister’s wife. She was very giving, selfless, and loving, especially when it came to kids. Speaking of kids, I loved Will. His personality was great and I thought he really added to the story. I have to admit that I did struggle a bit with Abe’s character. He is a minister who is very comfortable with people in all walks of life, he is also very kind, but he has a side to him that I thought didn’t seem to fit with the rest of his personality. In fact, there were a few instances during the story that made me a little uncomfortable because of the way he responded to the situation.

I felt like things tied up a bit too neatly at the end of this story, but for the most part, I was happy with the way it ended. I am really looking forward to the next story in this series.
I received a complimentary copy of this book but was under no obligation to provide a positive review. The faith element is light.

PAULA'S REVIEW:
In this third book of The Bride Ships series, we revisit Vancouver, British Columbia and a few of the characters from the previous books. This is the story of Pastor Abe Merivale.

Zoe Hart has nothing left to keep her in England so she boards a Bride Ship to British Columbia in search of her twin, Zeke, who is in the gold fields there. With so many men clamoring for a bride, Zoe can hardly choose. But she becomes desperate and almost marries an evil man. Pastor Abe steps in and offers a marriage of convenience. Together they have charge of a mixed race baby girl. Zoe has a real heart for orphaned children and Pastor Abe considers them a part of his ministry. He has established connections with the people in remote areas and has plans to build a Church in Yale. There are many obstacles for Zoe and Abe, from the weather to an unsympathetic Bishop to the man who says Abe stole Zoe from him.

Ms. Hedlund fleshes out her characters and gives them interesting backgrounds that all fit together in a story of faith and hardship, falling in love and learning to rely on God. Zoe: “If God gives us our ministry, then no one else has the power to take it away. Not even the bishop.”

As always, Jody Hedlund takes historical facts and weaves a plausible, inspiring and entertaining story. This is one of her finest.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House on behalf of the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*
5 stars. Strong faith thread. 

BackCover Blurb:
Unemployed mill worker Zoe Hart jumps at the opportunity to emigrate to British Columbia in 1863 to find a better life and be reunited with her brother, who fled from home after being accused of a crime.

Pastor to miners in the mountains, Abe Merivale discovers an abandoned baby during a routine visit to Victoria and joins efforts with Zoe, one of the newly arrived bride-ship women, to care for the infant. While there, he's devastated by the news from his fiancee in England that she's marrying another man.

With mounting pressure to find the baby a home, Zoe accepts a proposal from a miner of questionable character after he promises to help her locate her brother. Intent on protecting Zoe and frustrated by his failed engagement, Abe offers his own hand as groom. After a hasty wedding, they soon realize their marriage of convenience is not so convenient after all.


Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:
Buy Bride of Convenience at Amazon
Buy Bride of Convenience at Christianbook.com

Saturday, July 18, 2020

CLOSER THAN SHE KNOWS by Kelly Irvin, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"The Triple S stands for Shoot, Stab, and Strangle."

Teagan O'Rourke finds herself living and breathing in the middle of a nightmare. A cold, calculating killer is not only toying with her, but killing dear friends and acquaintances at a dizzying rate. While her family members use their law enforcement connections to find clues, Teagan's dearest friend Max maintains a steady presence at her side. If only . . . . . if only things could look different when Teagan gazes into her future.

"Closer Than She Knows" moves at a frantic, almost frenzied pace. A lot goes wrong for a lot of people. There are more dead ends than clues, and more to fear than fear itself. Even though Teagan and Max readily admit their flaws, they demonstrate an unshakable determination to forge ahead with a "them". For as the author concludes, "Scripture promised joy in the morning. It had arrived right on time."
*I purchased a copy and was under no obligation to provide a positive review. 3.5 stars


BackCover Blurb:
A serial killer bent on revenge . . . and striking too close to home.

Teagan O’Rourke has always loved murder mysteries. In her job as a court reporter, she has written official records for dozens of real-life murders. She’s slapped evidence stickers on crime scene photos. She’s listened to hours of chilling testimony. But she’s never known the smell of death. And she never thought she might be a victim.

Until now.

A young police officer is murdered just inches away from her, and then a man calling himself a serial killer starts leaving Teagan notes, signing each with the name of a different murderer from her favorite mystery novels.

Panicked, Teagan turns to her friend Max Kennedy. Max longs for more than friendship with Teagan, but he fears she’ll never trust someone with a past like his. He wonders how much of God’s “tough love” he can take before he gives up on love completely. And he wonders if he’ll be able to keep Teagan alive long enough to find out.

As Teagan, Max, and Teagan’s police officer father race to track down the elusive killer, they each know they could be the next victim. Desperate to save those she loves, Teagan battles fears that once haunted her in childhood. Nothing seems to stop this obsessed murderer. No matter what she does, he seems to be getting closer . . .


Thomas Nelson Publishing June 2020
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and audiobook:
Buy Closer Than She Knows at Amazon
Buy Closer Than She Knows at Christianbook.com
 

Thursday, July 16, 2020

FAIR AS A STAR by Mimi Matthews, Reviewed by Kim

With each and every Mimi Matthews story that I read, I am more impressed with her writing. I am generally not a huge fan of novellas because I always want more and they always seem too quick - the romance, the conflict - everything. While Fair as a Star is a novella, it did not read like one. It had so much more depth and emotion than what you would normally find. I mean I did want more when it was done, but I was also completely satisfied.

Oh my - Mark - moral, upright, kind, understanding, patient, do you get where I’m going here? What a wonderful character! I also really liked Beryl. I loved her strength and her depth. Beryl suffered from depression and I loved how Ms. Matthews handled this subject.

Don’t miss this wonderfully written romance or any other Mimi Matthews stories! They are all excellent!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own. This is a clean read, but there was a light faith element in this story.

BackCover Blurb:
From USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews comes a Victorian tale of love and longing in a quaint English village.

A Secret Burden...

After a mysterious sojourn in Paris, Beryl Burnham has returned home to the village of Shepton Worthy ready to resume the life she left behind. Betrothed to the wealthy Sir Henry Rivenhall, she has no reason to be unhappy--or so people keep reminding her. But Beryl's life isn't as perfect as everyone believes.

A Longstanding Love...

As village curate, Mark Rivenhall is known for his compassionate understanding. When his older brother's intended needs a shoulder to lean on, Mark's more than willing to provide one. There's no danger of losing his heart. He already lost that to Beryl a long time ago.

During an idyllic Victorian summer, friends and family gather in anticipation of Beryl and Sir Henry's wedding. But in her darkest moment, it's Mark who comes to Beryl's aid. Can he help her without revealing his feelings--or betraying his brother?


July 2020
Available in digital ebook and paperback:
Buy Fair as a Star at Amazon

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

STORIES THAT BIND US by Susie Finkbeiner, Reviewed by Winnie Thomas

Susie Finkbeiner is a master storyteller who never hesitates to tackle hard subjects with sensitivity. Stories That Bind Us is a snapshot of life in the middle 1900s—the ups and downs, the everyday struggles, and the events that defined and shaped the people who lived through them. It’s about the stories that surround us in our lives, how they make us who we are and form our memories, and how they can comfort and help heal.

This tale is full of realistic, ordinary, broken characters trying to navigate through the messiness of life. The author seamlessly pieces together snippets from the past with ones from the present to form a beautiful tapestry of life. Having lived through much of the same era, it was interesting to read some of the slices of history that she wrote into the story.

Powerful themes of compassion, healing, and love of family combine to make this a heartwarming and memorable read. I’m looking forward to more stories from this fantastic author. *4.5 stars I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Bethany Publishing/ NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

BackCover Blurb:
Betty Sweet never expected to be a widow at 40. With so much life still in front of her, she tries to figure out what's next. She couldn't have imagined what God had in mind. When her estranged sister is committed to a sanitarium, Betty finds herself taking on the care of a 5-year-old nephew she never knew she had.

In 1960s LaFontaine, Michigan, they make an odd pair. Betty with her pink button nose and bouffant hair. Hugo with his light brown skin and large brown eyes. But more powerful than what makes them different is what they share: the heartache of an empty space in their lives. Slowly, they will learn to trust one another as they discover common ground and healing through the magic of storytelling.

Award-winning author Susie Finkbeiner offers fans a novel that invites us to rediscover the power of story to open the doors of our hearts.

Bethany/Revell Publishing, June 2020
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover and audiobook:
Buy Stories That Bind Us at Amazon
Buy Stories That Bind Us at Christianbook.com


Tuesday, July 14, 2020

HOW SWEET IT IS, by Robin Lee Hatcher, Reviewed by Kim #ReleaseDay

First, let me just say I love both the cover and the title of this book. Both of these led me to expect a sweet and light romance with some baking thrown in for fun. While there were sweet and light parts and a little bit of baking, for me, this story was heavier and way more emotional than I expected. I may have cried like a baby after finishing the story- all the while hoping I didn’t wake my sleeping husband up!

We really have three stories in one in this book. The main story was about Jed and Holly. Their story gave me the sweet and light I was expecting. I liked how their relationship grew, I just wished Holly’s previous experience wouldn’t have played quite the large part it did in their story.

Chris and Willow’s story was one of the secondary stories. I wish we could have an entire book devoted to it. As written, I felt there were too many questions left unanswered, which frustrated me and left me wanting more. I think their full story could’ve been really deep, emotional, and filled with God’s grace and love.

Lastly, we had snippets of Andrew and Helen’s story which takes place in the past. This story touched me the most. It was one of forgiveness, love, and God’s peace. This story is the one that had me sobbing like a baby.

I loved how the faith element was seamlessly woven throughout this story. It was deep and didn’t seem forced. The following quote was one of my favorites from this story because I loved the reminder that God’s timing is always perfect.

“God’s grace came not a moment too soon or too late. It came in the moment it was needed.”

This is the third and, I believe, final story in this series. I have not read the first two books and while I wasn’t lost, I think I would’ve enjoyed this story more had I read the first two stories in the series.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book, and was under no obligation to provide a positive review. 

BackCover Blurb:
He lost his brother. She lost her dream. Together, they might find what they’re really looking for.

Holly Stanford is doing the best she can with the restaurant she inherited from her late uncle. But after her fiancé abandons her and the business, Holly regrets having given up her dream of becoming a pastry chef. Now a few bad financial decisions might cost her everything, including her hope for the future.

Jed Henning has done well with his new company despite his prodigal brother’s behavior. When Jed‘s father, the controlling member of the board of directors, temporarily suspends operations until his sons work out their differences, Jed resentfully chases his brother, Chris, to Boise. There Jed rents a basement apartment from Holly and hopes to convince Chris to get his act together before their company collapses.

Unaware that Holly is the one person who can help him get through to Chris, Jed starts the tough work of reconciliation armed with little more than a few family photographs, a stack of old letters, and a Bible that belonged to his great-grandfather, Andrew Henning. And as romance blossoms between Holly and Jed, the story of Jed’s great-grandfather highlights the power of God across the generations and the legacy of a family’s courageous faith.
 
Thomas Nelson Publishing July 2020
Available in digital ebook, paperback, library binding and audiobook:
 

Monday, July 13, 2020

MASQUERADE AT MIDDLECREST ABBEY by Abigail Wilson, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"All I ask is for you to feign affection in pubic, my dear, and we shall get on quite well with one another. Think of our marriage as a rather pleasant masquerade."
Actually, Elizabeth Cantrell's masquerade marriage was turning out to be a rather dangerous one, for her new husband was a British spy; his foiled disguise as a highwayman having been compromised following an horrendous coach accident which literally threw them together under compromising circumstances. And so it was, that a young unwed mother laid claim to the title of Lady Torrington. If it were only that simple.

First of all, it becomes apparent that Lord Torrington's deeds have followed him home. On the eve of his oldest daughter's wedding, unspeakable tragedy strikes his household and everyone on the vast estate falls under suspicion. Furthermore, as Adrian and Elizabeth join forces to expose the traitor in their midst, what began as a convenient relationship builds momentum, to the point that Elizabeth must honestly remind herself, "love had never been part of our arrangement, and I'd best remember that".

What perfect momentum! This intriguing example of historical suspense hosted a curious beginning, while maneuvering its way past tragedy, family secrets, and a tremulous romance; moving intentionally forward towards an heroic ending and a full fledged love story. Abigail Wilson has just staked her claim in Regency mystery.
*I purchased a copy and was under no obligation to provide a positive review. 3.5 stars \
 

see Winnie's Review!

BackCover Blurb:
In this new Regency romance, a young unwed mother must protect her heart from the charms of her convenient new husband, Lord Torrington. She is not, however, prepared to protect her life.

When the widowed Lord Torrington agreed to spy for the crown, he never planned to impersonate a highwayman, let alone rob the wrong carriage. Stranded on the road with an unconscious young woman, he is forced to propose marriage to protect his identity and her reputation, as well as his dangerous mission.

Trapped not only by her duty to her country but also by her limited options as an unwed mother, Miss Elizabeth Cantrell and her infant son are whisked away to Middlecrest Abbey by none other than the elder brother of her son’s absent father. There she is met by Torrington’s beautiful grown daughters, a vicious murder, and an urgent hunt for the missing intelligence that could turn the war with France. Meanwhile she must convince everyone that her marriage is a genuine love match if her new husband has any hope of uncovering the enemy.

Determined to keep her son’s true identity a secret, Elizabeth will need to remain one step ahead of her fragile heart, her uncertain future, and the relentless fiend bent on her new family’s ruin.


Available in digital ebook, paperback, library binding and audiobook:
Buy Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey at Amazon
Buy Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey at Christianbook.com



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